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Mr. Sunshine: Episode 12

Eugene and Ae-shin seek to make amends and settle the terms of their relationship, considering the constraints of social status. Meanwhile, Wan-ik continues to manipulate the pawns in his scheme, though he may be unaware that he’s holding onto multiple ticking time bombs, Hina being one of them. Unwilling to be a pawn in his schemes, Hina continues to defy his authority and act on her own accord.

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

It’s the English ambassador’s birthday, and all the fellow ambassadors and Wan-ik have been invited to celebrate at Hwawollu. In a voieover by Seung-gu, we learn that this is the day that Ae-shin has been ordered to sneak into Wan-ik’s house to steal the documents.

Hayashi, the Japanese ambassador, has thrown the birthday party for his political ally, the English ambassador Jordan, who he calls his friend. The Russian ambassador, Pavlov, speaks in Russian to scorn the friendship between the two island countries, and Jordan returns the derision by saying that the Russians don’t know table manners and only know how to drink vodka.

In broken English, Hayashi tells the Pavlov to speak in English, but Pavlov mocks him by saying that he doesn’t understand his poor pronunciation. Hayashi warns Pavlov to withdraw his troops from Yongampo, but Pavlov doesn’t take him seriously, doubting that the Japanese could incite a war and win with their short height. Hayashi slams the table in fury, but American ambassador Allen brings back the conversation to their real concerns about two foreign ministers getting killed during his leave.

Outside, Dong-mae thinks about the mysterious man from the hotel who seems to be lurking around Ae-shin. When Wan-ik arrives at Hwawollu, Dong-mae welcomes him and notices the duffel in Wan-ik’s hand, presumably full of money. He offers to escort Wan-ik to the party, but Wan-ik asks for a separate room and tells Dong-mae to escort Allen to his room when the party is finished.

Dong-mae thinks back to Hina’s request to remove half of Wan-ik’s guards at his house during the night of the party. She doesn’t offer any more details and says that this can make up for Dong-mae using his worker to spy on her hotel guest. Following Hina’s request, Dong-mae orders Yujo to distract Wan-ik’s guards by taking them out to eat.

We return to the cliffhanger from the previous episode, where Hina and Ae-shin face-off, unmasked and with their weapons pointed at each other. They notice that the other has the document they’re looking for and agree to exchange the documents — Kudo’s autopsy report for Hina and the interpreters’ reports for Ae-shin — without further altercation. Hina suggests that they discuss this revelation later, since they’re both in urgent situations, and Ae-shin decides their rendezvous.

Ae-shin safely flees the scene by hopping over the wall, but Hina gets caught by Duk-moon as she leaves through the front door. He approaches her from behind and demands to know her identity, and Hina grabs her sharp hairpiece in preparation of a fight. But the man is knocked out by someone else. Hina whips around swinging her sharp weapon at her mysterious savior, but it’s Dong-mae, who stops her hand and quickly leads her out to the bustling streets.

When they reach the safety of the crowd, Hina asks how Dong-mae ended up at Wan-ik’s house. He admits that he was worried and flirts the he’s been slacking has the apple of her eye recently. Dong-mae says that they’re even now and tells her that she can make it home alone from there. He says he’s off to the bar because this next half month (when he’ll be meeting Ae-shin) isn’t going past enough. He walks off into the rain, and Hina watches him with a sympathetic gaze before heading on her way.

Eugene drinks at the bar thinking about the red pinwheel (an indication that Ae-shin was on a mission), and Dong-mae joins him. Dong-mae mentions the gun match between Eugene and the intruder and asks he’s figured out the intruder’s motives. Eugene says that he’s still in the midst of investigations, and Dong-mae advises that he work fast since Wan-ik is currently meeting up with Allen to make a deal for the intruder’s release.

Dong-mae also warns Eugene to stay away from Wan-ik if possible, since that man is fully Japanese despite being a Joseon person. Eugene sarcastically that those words sound particularly sincere coming from Dong-mae, but Dong-mae claims that he’s an American temporarily, since he’s recently received dollars for a service. Eugene thanks him for the intel and offers to buy appetizers in return. So Dong-mae yells for a large order of sashimi, but stingy Eugene quickly reduces the size to a small. Ha.

Wan-ik and Duk-moon check the house to see what’s been stolen, and Wan-ik wonders if there were two different thieves or just one person doing both jobs. Duk-moon reports that their guard posts were empty at the time that the intruders rummaged through the house, but Wan-ik says that there’s no need to punish them because he knows this is Dong-mae just digging deeper into his own grave.

Duk-moon worries about their Manchuria agent, Kim Yong-joo, spilling any of their information when his opium wears off, but Wan-ik assures his assistant that Yong-joo will be released soon. Wan-ik orders Duk-moon to lock up Yong-joo upon his release in the safest place, the Joseon jail. Wan-ik then wonders why their thieves also stole the letter and complains that he hadn’t read it yet.

Eugene returns to the medicine shop, where he stares at the red pinwheel again. He thinks about Ae-shin claiming to be a blame and watches the pinwheel fall into the mud. He walks through the rainy night and comes face-to-face with Ae-shin on a bridge. Eugene stops and stares at her, but Ae-shin slowly walks past him without engaging. As she passes by him, she notices the red pinwheel in his hand.

At the medicine shop, Ae-shin looks deflated and pulls out the letter addressed to Eugene. She doesn’t it and just stares at Eugene’s name.

At the embassy the next day, Eugene asks Gwan-soo if he knows anything about Wan-ik. Gwan-soo makes the jump in logic that Wan-ik must have been the one who wanted to kill Eugene, and he explains that Wan-ik is behind Lee Duk-moon, who acted as Kim Yong-joo’s proxy. Gwan-soo wonders why Wan-ik would want to kill Eugene, but Eugene thinks that they just wanted to threaten him. If they wanted to kill him, there was no reason for Kim Yong-joo to sneak into his room — they could have just shot him from afar.

Eugene says that he’s waiting for their next move, but he doesn’t know Wan-ik well enough. Gwan-soo shares that Wan-ik is rumored to have the support of Japanese prime minister Ito Hirobumi, which is why people have been opposing Wan-ik’s appointment into the royal court. But this refusal to appoint Wan-ik has coincided with the consecutive deaths of the foreign ministers, which is rumored to be Wan-ik’s doing.

Gwan-soo adds that he’s witnessed a strange sighting in Hamgyeong, where he saw pictures of Wan-ik’s legal wife being posted on bulletins. Wan-ik isn’t looking for his wife, since he remarried to a Japanese woman; rather, it seems that Glory Hotel owner Hina is searching for her. Not knowing that Hina is the daughter, Eugene finds this news strange — why would Hina be searching for Wan-ik’s wife?

In her room, Hina looks at the autopsy report and then to her mirror to check on her wound from her fight with Ae-shin. She flinches at her painful bruise, but she seems impressed by this gun-wielding noblewoman. Ae-shin also flinches at her busted lip and wonders why Hina would want the autopsy report.

At the inn, Ae-shin delivers the interpreters’ reports to Seung-gu. He asks if she found any other relevant documents, and she says that she didn’t, even though she immediately thinks about the autopsy report. Seung-gu thanks her for helping, and she responds that this was her decision.

Seung-gu asks if she resents him, but Ae-shin says that she’s thankful that Seung-gu stopped her when he did because she would have impulsively run to Eugene. But when she stopped, she was able to think. She thought about all the moments she met Eugene — his decision and her decisions.

She reflects, “His decisions were always quiet, heavy, and they appeared selfish and cold. But he was always walking in the right direction. That’s why I don’t regret any feelings I had for him. I cannot return to when I didn’t meet him, and it’s right for me to lose him now. Because if I don’t, I think I will risk too much.”

Eugene interrogates Kim Yong-joo, who’s somewhat come to his senses. He asks why Yong-joo searched his room and his relationship with Wan-ik, but Yong-joo doesn’t answer anything. Eugene wonders if Yong-joo already knows that he’ll be released, since he seems to be comfortably killing time.

Eugene shows Yong-joo the picture of his comrades, and that gets a visceral response. Yong-joo lunges forward trying to grab the picture from Eugene’s hand, and Eugene asks who these people are. Thinking back to Ae-shin’s mother and her last words, Yong-joo responds in Mandarin that he killed one person and two others will kill him. Before Eugene can hear his response in Korean, they’re interrupted by a soldier summoning Eugene to meet with Allen. Eugene sighs, realizing that he’s already out of time.

In a quick flashback, we see that Wan-ik had offered the duffel of money to Allen to bribe him to release Yong-joo. Back at the embassy, Allen orders Eugene to release Yong-joo, since locking up an innocent Joseon man looks bad for the American reputation. Eugene reasons that an American was attacked by this man, but Allen says that it’s their job to maintain the peace in Joseon.

Allen quotes a proverb: “Blood is thicker than water.” Eugene takes offense to this pointed comment implying that Eugene is considered a Joseon person in this situation. Allen orders Eugene to stay quiet on this issue before he’s transferred to another country, in accordance to his request.

Eugene hands over Yong-joo to the Joseon police and tells Duk-moon that whoever planned this scheme was smart, since the Joseon jail is the safest place for this criminal. Eugene hands over Yong-joo’s belongings without the photo, and Yong-joo realizes this, he screams manically for it. But Eugene feigns ignorance and says that Yong-joo should have talked to Eugene when he had his chance. Eugene leaves, and Duk-moon tries to silence the deranged man’s threats for his photo.

Ae-shin’s servants whisper about captured Duk-moon as they pass by, and Ae-shin peeks out of her carriage out of curiosity. Duk-moon’s eyes widen in fear at the sight of Ae-shin and her striking similarities to her parents. He shivers wildly and yelps in fear, and the guards need to drag him away. Ae-shin’s servants quickly close Ae-shin’s window and usher themselves away.

Eugene meets with Hina with a question, and Hina revels in the moment in which Eugene is finally curious about her. He asks why she’s searching for Wan-ik’s wife, and her excitement quickly dissipates. She responds that she’s not looking for Wan-ik’s wife but her mother, but she also acknowledges that Wan-ik is her father.

Suspicious of Hina’s intentions, Eugene asks why Hina gave him the wrong key the day the Yong-joo broke into his room. Hina seems offended that Eugene is suspecting her to be on Wan-ik’s side, but he says that there’s no evidence to say otherwise. Hina accepts his doubts but says that the only evidence is her genuine hope that he would survive. She further explains that if she wanted him to die, she could have given him the actual key to his room, hired gangs, or poisoned his food, but she didn’t.

Hina and Ae-shin eat some PPL cake at the bakery, and they address their run-in at Wan-ik’s house. Ae-shin notes that Hina seemed skilled with the sword, and Hina explains that she fences. Hina asks about Ae-shin’s handling of the gun, and Ae-shin says that it was just the first weapon around. When asked for her reason learning fencing, Hina explains that she fences to protect herself and asks Ae-shin what she’s trying to protect, but Ae-shin doesn’t answer.

Hina asks what her cover-up was for her busted lip, and Ae-shin seethes that no one dared to ask her. Unshaken by Ae-shin’s authority, Hina says that she’s asking now. Ae-shin warns Hina not to consider this a weakness, since it could be a ticking time bomb. Hina agrees and says that they’re both hold double-edged weapons. They both agree to forget what happened that night, since neither of them seem to be willing to unveil their vulnerabilities.

Ae-shin asks Hina how she explained the bruise on her face, and Hina claims that she lied about being involved in a lovers’ quarrel. Rumors of this attracts more men to the hotel, and she benefits from the business. Ae-shin asks what she buys with all the money, and Hina playfully points to all the food in the bakery.

Ae-shin visits the U.S. embassy, where Eugene eagerly watches her arrival with the red pinwheel in hand. But Ae-shin is there on business terms and curtly asks Eugene to translate a letter. Eugene worries about her busted lip and asks if she’s been injured anywhere else, but Ae-shin only asks for his translation.

Eugene takes the letter and asks where Ae-shin got this letter addressed to him from Joseph. Ae-shin doesn’t reveal anything and demands to know the name of the sender. Eugene reveals that it’s Joseph, the missionary father-figure in his life. Ae-shin realizes that this is the American man who saved Eugene, and she listens to his translation of the warm personal letter.

At the end, Eugene translates a line asking about the woman Eugene mentioned in their last correspondence. Ae-shin’s eyes widen at the mention of her, and Eugene asks once again why Ae-shin has this letter. She asks for the letter back and doesn’t answer his questions. She promises to return the letter to him once she’s done it and if he’s still in Joseon then.

As Ae-shin walks out, she stops to ask one more question about why he decided to return the banknote to Joseon, if he intended to let Joseon get ruined. Eugene says that he must have done that so that Ae-shin would look back on him one more time like she just did. Ae-shin tries not to let her emotions overcome her and walks out.

Hee-sung brings his pocket watch and sets out to manage his guilt. His first stop is the police station, where he meets with the police chief. Chief Jung welcomes him with a smile and shares that he’s greatly indebted to Hee-sung’s grandfather. Hee-sung acknowledges this, and that’s when their pleasantries end. Hee-sung shows him the ledger that his grandfather passed down to him and says that his grandfather told him to reference these people during hard times.

Hee-sung flips open the ledger to show Chief Jung his name and asks for money. Chief Jung tries to avoid the transaction by claiming that he’s busy with an investigation, but Hee-sung insists that Chief Jung provide the money immediately since he’s so busy. Chief Jung laughs deliriously, and Hee-sung hilariously mirrors his excessive laughter.

Next stop is the post office, and Hee-sung slips open the ledger to claim money from the post office owner. The owner makes an excuse that he’s busy with work, and Hee-sung once again offers to take the money immediately so that the owner can focus on his work.

Hee-sung sits down at an eatery to have some soup, and he comments on how his pocket watch noisily keeps ticking away. A passerby recognizes Hee-sung and splashes a bucket of water on him. He asks if his pocket watch is still working after ten years, and Hee-sung realizes that this is the man that his grandfather stole land from to afford the pocket watch.

The owner of the shop yells at the man for dumping water on such a prominent person like Hee-sung, and she swears that she won’t buy water from him any longer. The man doesn’t care and abandons his gear before storming off, and Hee-sung asks the shop owner for a favor — that she continue to buy that man’s water.

Hee-sung sets the dropped water buckets, and as he walks away, he runs into Eugene. It seems that Eugene witnessed the whole situation, and he offers his handkerchief. Hee-sung says that he’s used to it, and he’s willing to accept their wrath. He says that one of them is bound to feel pity for him, and he finds comfort in the fact that pity is also affection. But Hee-sung doesn’t take Eugene’s handkerchief, saying that he won’t accept his affection. Hee-sung walk home shivering in his drenched clothing, and Eugene watches him with a pitiful look.

When Eugene returns to the hotel, he finds Dong-mae and his gang rummaging through 205, the room that Kim Yong-joo stayed in. Dong-mae says that he didn’t find anything significant other than a packet of opium, and Eugene asks why he’s searching the room. Dong-mae claims that he’s just bored, but Eugene can tell that he was searching for something and asks to help. Given their history with the banknote, Dong-mae declines the offer and heads out.

Eugene looks around the room and finds a letter addressed from Hamgyeong. He doesn’t open it or find it significant, but we should probably remember it for future reference.

A belligerent drunken man at Hwawollu throws the tarot card reader on the ground and scolds her for refusing to provide any services. Yujo warns the man to step away, since she’s not a geisha, but the man degrades Yujo for having the audacity to speak up against him. The belligerent Japanese man aims a gun at Yujo’s forehead and reminds him that they’re just beggars in Japan. He says that they’ve gained their status not thanks to Dong-mae but through Hayashi and other noble statesmen like him who work at the frontlines in Japan.

Belligerent demands that Yujo get on his knees or get shot pulling out his sword. Yujo insists that Belligerent shoot him, but Belligerent lowers his gun at the appearance of Dong-mae, smiling at the arrival of their real target. Dong-mae picks up the tarot reader’s book and says, “You hit her.” He reads the writing in the book, through which the tarot reader explained that she’s not a geisha, that she reads fortunes, to not hit her.

Dong-mae says that they must not be blind, since they recognize him, and asks why they didn’t just get their fortunes read. Belligerent’s friend says that they were obviously wanting more, but the wretched girl didn’t give them a chance. The friend kicks the tarot reader, and Dong-mae’s lackies draw their swords.

Belligerent points his gun at Yujo again and says that he’ll forgive them all of Dong-mae gets on his knees. He vows to teach put them in their place and teach them that they’re a different class. Dong-mae ignores Belligerent’s taunting and walks to the tarot reader to help her up. He turns her around from the scene and tells her not to look.

Then, Dong-mae swiftly grabs the sword from Yujo’s hand and slices the friend across his neck. With blood sprayed across his face, Dong-mae turns to Belligerent and confirms that they’re a different class of killers. They don’t have restrictions on who they can kill and are ready to die at any moment.

Belligerent lowers his gun and says that Hayashi will hear about this, and Dong-mae agrees that Hayashi should. Grabbing the man by the collar, Dong-mae calls him out on his idiotic hostility since Dong-mae and Hayashi maintain their diplomatic relationship with the mutual understanding that they can benefit from each other. Dong-mae looks at the slaughtered man and says that he’ll consider their check paid. He walks into his restaurant, and Belligerent fumes with rage.

The ministers siding with Wan-ik try to convince Minister Lee Jung-moon to accept Japan’s request to utilize their currency in Joseon, but Minister Lee isn’t swayed by their arguments. He knows that accepting this request will transfer more power to Japan, and Joseon will lose their sovereignty. Minister Lee erupts in anger while Wan-ik listens to the arguments.

Another minister suggests granting this request to allow for railroads to run through Joseon, but Minister Lee knows that these railroads aim to be utilized for the looming war between the Japanese and the Russians. He insists that Joseon is a self-sufficient country and has no intention to sacrifice the Joseon land and people to build railroads that will be manipulated for the war between Japan and Russia.

The ministers blame the gridlock on the foreign minister vacancy, and they point to Wan-ik as a qualified candidate. The ministers wait for Wan-ik to speak, but he bitterly says that as the Minister of Agriculture, he’s not in a position to contribute to their conversation.

As they eat, Eugene asks Gwan-soo about Ae-shin’s grandfather and his sons. Gwan-soo shares that Grandfather had two sons who both died tragically. His first son died during the anti-Catholic riots while saving villagers, and his younger son, Ae-shin’s father, returned from Japan cremated around the time of the Unyo incident. Gwan-soo tells him the names of the sons — Go Sang-jin and Go Sang-wan — and Eugene thinks back to the names on the back of Yong-joo’s photo.

Eugene visits the pawnshop to ask them to find a specific model of a gun. Il-shik complains that they’ve already done dangerous work for him and that Hanseong is becoming a dangerous place, with the foreign minister killings. In addition, they have to follow regulations, but Il-shik offers to find this gun at an expensive price.

Ae-shin sits by the river practice spot and hears rustling from afar. She points her gun toward the sound, but it’s just Eugene with a new gun in hand. He approaches Ae-shin and offers this gun as a gift to her, since she may have not held this model before. He asks if she wants to learn how to use the gun, and if she does, he offers to stay in Joseon for a little longer to teach her.

Ae-shin accepts the offer and says that she’ll take a long time to learn this gun. She makes it clear to him that she will always be Go Ae-shin, the noblewoman of the Go family, so she will never be able to stand by Eugene as an equal. But Eugene doesn’t mind this and says that he’s satisfied with the simple fact she’s in his life today.

Eugene coaches Ae-shin on lifting the gun and instructs her to practice this movement until the gun becomes lighter. He says that expert shooters like Ae-shin are called “snipers” in the U.S., and Ae-shin likes this name. Ae-shin cocks the gun, and Eugene gets close to adjust her posture before she shoots the gun off into the distance. Ae-shin remembers the night they first met and asks what Eugene was discovered for that night. She admits that her romance was discovered, and Eugene jokes that his shooting skills were discovered.

Eugene happily returns to his office and silently greets Kyle so he can scare Domi from behind. But Domi isn’t fazed at all and casually greets Eugene. Kyle delivers good news about Eugene’s relocation and tells him to choose his next destination from a list. Experiencing a sudden change of heart, Eugene takes the list and stuff it in his mouth. Kyle informs him that the list is a copy, and Eugene spits it right out.

Under Kyle’s watch, Eugene runs around the embassy as he trains with multiple bags on his body. Despite the strenuous training, Eugene smiles at the thought of his recent developments with Ae-shin.

While touching up her make-up in her room, Hina hears the sound of footsteps and a cane. The sound grows louder, and she opens her door to find Wan-ik. Hina immediately rings the bell to summon the reception desk, and Wan-ik asks if she stole the autopsy report from his house. She plays dumb, and when the worker at reception arrives, she tells him that they’ll talk later.

Wan-ik closes the door to Hina’s room and asks why she took the other documents in addition to the autopsy report. Hina continues to play dumb, and Wan-ik commends his daughter but says that she has ways to go before she catches up to him. Wan-ik reveals that he bought the autopsy report before Dr. Machiyama could share the document with Kudo’s daughter (Hina’s stepdaughter).

Hina asks why he didn’t just kill the doctor if he wanted to do her a favor, and Wan-ik says that these guys make the best dogs. He plans to position Dr. Machiyama as the royal physician. Then, Wan-ik notices the bruise on Hina’s face and tells her to take good care of her face since she needs to get remarried. He leaves Hina’s room, and she looks a bit shaken up.

On his way out, Wan-ik runs into Eugene, who he’s met briefly when he bought the house from Mrs. Taylor. Wan-ik shares that he was robbed recently, and Eugene says that he also had an intruder break into his room. Eugene mentions that the intruder seemed to be good friends with Wan-ik’s assistant, and Wan-ik pretends that this is news to him.

Wan-ik then asks if Eugene is married, and they look to Hina, who’s watching them from her window. Wan-ik reminds him to lock his doors before limping away, and Eugene comments that Wan-ik exceeds all expectations.

When Eugene enters the hotel, Hina asks him what they talked about. Eugene says that Wan-ik asked if they were married, and Hina tells him to just say he’s a patriot next time. She offers to prepare warm water, and Eugene smells himself to check if his body odor from training is obvious.

Dong-mae revisits Jemulpo and thinks back to shooting Ae-shin in the leg. He realizes that she must have taken a hard fall from so high up. Yujo asks why he came back here, and Dong-mae says that he plans on visiting the temple since time won’t go fast enough.

At the temple, a monk scorns the Japanese man for visiting the temple, but she quickly become amicable when Dong-mae speaks Korean. He asks about Ae-shin visiting in her mourning garment, and the monk explains that her parents’ mortuary tablets are hosted there.

Dong-mae finds the mortuary tablets and greets Ae-shin’s parents respectfully. He says that he somehow ended up here after following Ae-shin and asks if they know what she does. He then asks if they know she does the work because he can’t understand why.

He looks down at his sword and apologizes for showing up with his weapon. He admits that the first person he cut was Ae-shin, and he thinks back to the stinging curse at young Ae-shin for being a spoiled noblewoman. He confesses, “I chose the sharpest words to cut her. Did they hurt her? While I hope that she still hurts, I also hope that she’s completely forgotten. Even though I hide her and pretend to not know, I wouldn’t have a chance, would I?”

Ae-shin and Eugene enjoy chicken soup in separate but adjacent rooms, and Ae-shin suggests an alternative way to exchange letters. She says that she can utilize market days to visit the medicine shop and drop off her letter in a specific plant medicine box. On days that she can’t exchange letters because she’s working as a sniper, Ae-shin says there will be a red pinwheel at the medicine shop. Eugene remembers this from her last mission and belatedly realizes this message.

They go to the frozen river, and Eugene asks if Ae-shin returned his music box as a farewell gesture. She denies this and claims that it was just an indication that she stopped by. She asks the same question about why Eugene returned the music box to her, and Eugene says that it was a farewell gesture indicating that he was leaving. Ae-shin curses at him and says that she really thought he left. Eugene teases her further, asking if she cried, and Ae-shin lies that she just cursed him.

Ae-shin admits that she visited more than that one time to return his music box, since she couldn’t send letters to illiterate Eugene. To prove that he’s not completely illiterate, Eugene writes Ae-shin’s name in the air but admits that he just memorized the spelling of her name. Eugene claims that he knows how to read and write English, Japanese, and Chinese — he just doesn’t know Korean. Ae-shin says it’s a relief and teases him by saying that she thought she would have to draw pictures to communicate.

Eugene says that he missed her, and Ae-shin looks touched by his sudden confession. He claims that he can write the phrase as well, but he struggles to spell out the words fully. Then, Eugene asks if Ae-shin has seen the ocean, and she says that she did at Jemulpo, though she was busy shooting. She shows off that she learned the word in English and lists of the ‘S’ words: “Sea, sunrise, sunset, sunshine.” Eugene proposes that they go see the sunrise at the sea, and though it may be difficult, Ae-shin agrees that they should go sometime.

Eugene sneaks into the medicine shop and eagerly searches for the medicine box with Ae-shin’s letter. He finds Ae-shin’s letter sharing that she learned the word “zebra” and asking if such striped horses really exist. When Ae-shin opens the medicine box, she finds the box full of flowers and a written response explaining that Domi had brought them to the embassy. He asks if she’s smiling and says that the wind must have blown the flowers off the tree to make her smile.

Eugene returns to the medicine shop and trips over his own feet trying to read his next letter. Ae-shin writes that they should go see the sea, the vast one that he’s seen, the one that he crossed for over a month. She proposes that they also watch the sunrise at this sea.

On horseback, Eugene and Ae-shin ride through the hills headed toward the sea — just the two of them reveling in their moment together.

 
COMMENTS

Honestly, I let out a couple laughs in the last few scenes because this romance between Eugene and Ae-shin doesn’t quite make sense. They were apart and miserable because they decided that they couldn’t just ignore their class disparity, and now they’re happy and adorable because they chose to ignore the existence of social status. If there was a reason for Eugene’s sudden change of heart, it went over my head, and I shouldn’t be thinking this hard to identify the logical justification for his decision to stay. I’m all for breaking the status quo and destroying the social class hierarchy, but this romantic development felt incredibly choppy and contrived. And while they do have a fun and cute relationship, the cute wasn’t enough to cure my whiplash. The moment before the romance turned illogical or got amnesia, Eugene commented on how the pawnshop duo’s logic made no sense, and I can’t help but extend that statement to his logic.

Despite the revival of the romance being a main plot point in this episode, I was more drawn to our other characters facing their own vulnerabilities. I find Hina’s relationship with Wan-ik so intriguing, since I can see Wan-ik’s one true weakness being Hina. He’s a ruthless and repulsive man, but I do believe that he’s somewhat protective of Hina in a twisted way. She’s not afraid to become more twisted and crueler because of him, and it seems that only Dong-mae has been privy to this darker side of Hina. I’m fully on the Hina/Dong-mae ship, even though every episode never fails to remind us that this is an impossible pair. You can’t watch Dong-mae bare his heart to Ae-shin’s parents and think that he could love anyone else.

Meanwhile, Hee-sung is crawling out of his dark cave of apathy and to finally address the demons that he inherited. He strives to be a different noble — much like Ae-shin — and I like the hints of this real Hee-sung peeking out of his playboy façade. Hee-sung seems ready to accept the consequences of his family’s sins, and I’m excited to see him develop his sense of purpose as he commits to being Ae-shin’s bright smiley shadow.

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I think they are loveable when they are so giddy writing love letters back and forth. 💖 so cuteeeee. 😘

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When I watch a drama that I really like and the drama is good, I sort of lose myself in it. And as long as something (bad acting, bad writing, illogical happening) don't occur, I can stay in "the drama" But if something jars me out of my enjoyment--and makes me realize I am just watching a show and not there--I get upset.
I really like Mr. Sunshine. But when all of a sudden the HUGE problem of why Ae-shin and Eugene can't "be together" is either solved, or ignored, it jarred me.
And when days went by with them trading letters in the apothecary, without a mention about what happened to Eugene's transfer, or day to day life of all the other major characters except Eugene and Ae-shin--it jarred me.
When Ae-shin rode horseback behind Eugene--without her right and left hands-(servants) or an explanation to her family where or why she was going--it jarred me.

And I am hoping it was just a glitch in the episodes, and isn't an omen that the show is descending into crazy.

Because I really REALLY want it to be good.

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I am really with you, as well as with Dramallama in this, because I hate illogical. If they have 20 episodes and they can take time to show apparently worthless things like certain politicians or the daily life of joseon people, they could also use this time in the drama to explain these things!
Although explaining what happened to Eugene's transfer won't eliminate the fact that they reasume their relationship as if nothing's happened before, but at least it could set up the setting to now believe they are writing each other on a daily bases.

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How often were "market days"? That is the frequency in which they are writing. We saw 3 letters read over 2 market days, and the 2 weeks until Ae-shin must meet Dong-mae has not yet passed. So the sequence of scenes showing these letters gives the illusion of more time passing than is really occurring.

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I feel like the passage of time is unclear in this drama and it's undermining developments. It may be that, for instance, they were apart for a week or two and had a change of heart but onscreen it looks like 2 minutes passed. They need to like, intersperse some shots of the land changing showing seasons progressing or something like that.

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I concur. For a drama that is paying attention to the changing seasons, this was a wasted opportunity. We can however infer that it is spring from the flower petals Eugene left in the drawer. It’s interesting that the drama often expects viewers to pick up on small details but at other times lulls them to sleep with obvious slo-mo and lingering stares.

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@wishfultoki Lingering stares: so cheesy, melodramatic, roll eyes.
If you wanna see great slo-mo watch this clip from FuYao:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMaL-U4V_ZY

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The impossible / possible relationship seems like a way to kill time, and an indicator that we have a 24-episode show with only 16 episodes of material. Like the repeat poisonings in Faith.

Or maybe the writer just cares more about the Big Romance than she cares about logic.

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Yup.

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I keep thinking if the director would stop having the camera linger on a scene or a face so long it could easily be a 16 episode drama. I feel like when the director looked at the script he said, "omg what do we do with piece of fluffy nothing to drag it out to 24 episodes..."

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But 16 episodes make so much less money than 24 or 28 episode dramas. I keep thinking of Charles Dickens, who wrote serialized fiction in British newspapers. He put all sorts of fillers in his novels to make more money. (It's just how it is and has almost always been.)

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And 24 episodes is almost epic, right?

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In my experience, all Korean dramas (except weekend family dramas that I've never watched) have material for maximum 16 episodes. So if they get 16+ episodes (simply because they spent so money that they need more episode count to make a reasonable profit), they have to add a lot of water to their soup!
Nevertheless, I don't see couple coming back together without any explenation as UNREALISTIC! This always happens in real life, couples break up because they think their relationship is impossible, but they back together again and again because breaking up is hard when you're still in love with each other, and they need more time to digest why they need to break-up...

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They'll probably break up soon. It's too early in the show to have them permanently together.

What amused me was them riding off... to the ocean? er...

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Here is why Eugene's transfer doesn't bother me. Minister Allen and Kyle have approved it, but they are now waiting on Eugene to tell them where he would like his next posting to be. It's more of an open-ended requested transfer, not a required one out of necessity. So the ball is in Eugene's court to make the next move on the transfer. Now he wants to train Ae-Shin, so he will delay it, possibly for a long enough time that Allen and/or Kyle are forced to revoke it.

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I don't know if "bother" explains how I feel. I just like to be able to be "carried away" by a good drama/writing/acting/editing. And when I'm watching a show and I think, "yeah, but???" it brings me out of the time period of the episode and back to 2018--and it's discomfiting. So when a dilemma is presented as an obstacle, and is then ignored, or not explained, I think, "huh?" Sometimes these are explained in later episodes and I think, "oh. Why didn't I see that then?" I hope this is what happens.

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And there is the fact that the King really likes Eugene because he returned the all important Russian bank note. So really Eugene is in fine shape.

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Hear hear. It has been a while that I watched this drama with only being partially invested into it. It really is not what I am used to for I usually drop or not even get near to any drama with similar cases. The cinematography is really the best for a period drama so far that I have seen ( and I don't watch that many dramas). And I am with Javabeans on this as well. Not being able to fully love each aspects of it is really annoying to me because it has all the necessary ingredients to make it a great masterpiece. I want to wholeheartedly be with these righteous army but show just won't let me be... yet...

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Hear hear!!! I made a similar argument in another episodes post. In a drama that is making its case with logic and reasoning, and expects the audience to follow along with that reasoning, it seems so out of place when characters start doing things according to their whims. Again, this is my problem with Eun-Sook. A great writer to set things up, but not so great in following through with the climax and rest of the plot.

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I am so with you on things that can pull me out of a drama 's world. I can be distracted so easily by something simple like a really bad wig on a character (Shine or Go Crazy second lead) or a scar that is the whole crux of a character but when it's revealed it does nothing to take away from the star' s beauty, in fact, I can barely see it (Scarlet Heart Rheo in the Moonlight or whatever show was called). As to Mr. Sunshine, we've had inconsistencies like this all along when it comes to Ae shin. One time she rides in the boat with Eugene, a total stranger (or even worse, a man from an enemy nation whom she knows, knows her clandestine activities) and the next time the wherry woman follows protocol and makes Eugene wait and takes them across separately. Her even leaving her servants behind to ride the trolly without them, much more so alone with Hui sun just wouldn't happen. And what are the chances her nosy cousin wouldn't wonder where she goes when she's training, not to mention, her aunt.
But all of that doesn't yank me out as much as a really bad wig that I can't stop staring at, so much so that I'll miss entire dialog over it. lol
As far as Eugene's transfer, I thought they just haven't gotten to addressing it yet, but you could be right that it's just swept away because they have been treating the order very lightly with the whole joke of Eugene trying to eat the thing. I think if LBH had played this 10 years ago, I would've found that really funny but he looks too mature, like a well seasoned officer, so it just looks offputting to me instead.
As to their relationship being resolved - I don't think anything changed regarding their not being able to be together. Ae shin just said they'll enjoy what they can for now.

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-when all of a sudden the HUGE problem of why Ae-shin and Eugene can't "be together" is either solved, or ignored, it jarred me.
it has not been resolved. They still cant be together. AS said she will be lady Go Ae Shin till she died. EC said "you should be".

-days went by with them trading letters in the apothecary, without a mention about what happened to Eugene's transfer, or day to day life of all the other major characters except Eugene and Ae-shin
EC's transfer has been explained in the previous scene. Kyle has got the transfer paper from Allen, The destination has not been decide. Kyle asked Eugene where he wants to go, EC ate the paper, the paper is a copy because the destination has not been set, it's not an official paper yet. Kyle order EC to the training ground as a punishment because eating the paper means EC reject the military order. it's a transfer paper after all--even if it's a copy.

-Ae-shin rode horseback behind Eugene--without her right and left hands-(servants) or an explanation to her family where or why she was going
Your question will be answered in ep 13

-And I am hoping it was just a glitch in the episodes
there is no glitch my friend

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Everything about this drama seems choppy and contrived to me, so what else can I say.

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Nothing. 😃. I feel exactly the same way. I neither love nor hate the drama. I like some actors and some plots and the cinematography is awesome. But other than that......sigh.

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I have a technique. When I start losing the thread of the story because it is just too choppy. I scroll through the subs and I just watch/read the scenes that involves that character. That always straightens it out and throws a light on their development.

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Me, too. However, the last couple episodes I had to ff sooo much...

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Thats why I depend on my fellow beanies, so insightful. We are in it together.

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The letters in the medicine shop drawers were very moving...I don't feel the chemistry between Eugene and AE Shin, but it was moving, nevertheless.

Dong Mae in the temple broke my heart again. Bowing to her parents in respect, and acknowledging that his love for her is an impossibility...so touching.

Hee Sung continues to charm his way into my heart. That he accepts the hate and shrugs it away on the outside, but is very hurt on the inside, is just sad.

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Hina and Dong-Mae are so beautiful I could literally collapse. No lie. They have a friendship that I will go down with. I love them.

I didn't love this episode, and the romance confused me. It was cute though...I just don't really see Eugene and Ae-shin ending up together, this all seems kind of futile to me.

Dong-mae in the temple though? That was unreal. I know everyone is obsessed to death with the portrayal of that character...and I wish I had something productive to contribute to that but I stay WHIPPED for everything Dong-mae does. Wowe. We love a dark, misunderstood KING.

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YES! That scene made me cry. The line: "I know you'd never accept me but I still wanted to say hello" was the most heartbreaking thing I've heard this year. Beyond Yoo Yeon-Seok's performance (which is brilliant, and beautiful, and raw, and nuanced, and grounded, and heartfelt, and human, and I'm running out of adjectives), the writing in that scene was top-notch. Just enough words to convey what needed to be conveyed, the right words, the simple words, the ones that go right through you. I'll be honest, I forgot about everything else that happened in that episode, except for that beautiful scene.

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I love your post, and the way you wrote it, so eloquently, and so beautifully. Your post moved me, as Dong Mae's scene moved me.

Loved that scene. Going into it, I was prepared, and said to myself, KGE is not going to make me cry this time, no way, he's just going to a temple, what's he going to say that 'll make me cry, and then he gets on his knees, and says all the right words, so honestly, so sincerely, I just bawled my eyes out.

Every other scene paled in comparison to this scene. The quietest, yet the most powerful, the most compelling scene of the whole episode.

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The temple scene was certainly the longest time we've been given to peek into Dong-mae's soul. Quite poignant in its sadness and sincerity.

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One of the few times I really paid attention to the soundtrack in the background as the scene was unfolding (usually someone else points it out before I consciously listen). It was really fitting and hauntingly beautiful.

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The tragic anti-hero. And Dong mae standing up for his people. We may be ronin, and we may seem to you like the scum of the earth, but we put our swords (and money!) where our mouths are. IMO, Dong mae may not have the most respectable of jobs, but he's got my respect for having his heart and head in the right place. Awesome.

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<3

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I'm very happy you're going to read my story about poor Dong Mae....*cries*. I know with certainty that he's going to die, in a blaze of glory. *cries even more*

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I actually want him to die in a blaze of glory instead of being given a happy ending, which would not be fitting for his tragic character in this drama. But that doesn't mean I won't cry. I will definitely cry. But at the same time I'll enjoy and savour the angst and the tears!

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I think he's going to die, right after doing some kind of heroic deed to rescue either Ae-Shin or Joseon. Some sort of "I'll detonate the bomb with my body, you run" kind of scenario. And I will bawl my eyes out.

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I can't with Dong-mae drifting aimlessly waiting for the day of his date, swoonily saving women on his way. Like what am I meant to do when he goes to pay his respects to Ae-shin's death parents even though he feels unworthy of them and their daughter? Never has a love been more futile and a self-sacrificing death more certain.

Gah Ae-shin, spare one of your letters for Dong-mae, all he has are your shopping lists. T.T

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I don't know why but your 'spare one of your letters for Dong-mae, all he has are your shopping lists. T.T' really cracked me up!
Hina can steal one of Ae-shin's letters for Dong-mae. He will be forever grateful that he would rescue her from anything, anytime and anywhere.

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Dong-mae, the classic tragic figure that we all love to pity! I have said this before, but I can honestly feel more chemistry between him and Aeshin than her and Eugene. I think it also has to do with the acting. Lee Byung Hun is not convincing me that he's in love with her and has been a general disappointment so far. The younger cast has been a lot more believable in their roles.

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I think LBH's age (while he looks great) plays against him. It's hard to believe him in many scenes, like the silliness of him eating the order. Should've been funny and it would've been, with a younger actor.

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I think LBH is not cut out to play romantic. IMO, he didnt quite know what to do with his facial expressions whenever there was a scene with him having to be show affection for AE. lol.

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Just wanted to add that he is awesome in all the other parts :)

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Hina and Dong-Mae are one of those friendship-to-lover who think they love someone else!!! They're both too wounded and traumatized with their adolescence that it's hard for them to understand what they really want! Their relationship is too intimate and sexy!!

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Whipped! Yes! And he knows it! And that's what makes an otherwise murdering fiend so charming! 😆

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It is so weird how this drama is all out to give us variety of options to root for with its five ways romance, I came to not feeling much about the romance or arguing who loves who more and who should be with who. Instead, I came to like each and individual characters, their own stories and their interactions with each other more.

Like I'm here getting very invested in each of their own journey, wanting to see their individual growth and not caring much about the romance (but I have to admit Hui Seong's visit to Ae Shin's school and his proposal to be her shadow did made me swooned for a while but I guess that's just that).

I am so in to see more of the character's fun interaction with each other, more on the righteous army's actions and the main leads' individual journeys -

1) Eugene's journey to start loving Joseon and becoming a full fledge Joseon man again;
2) Ae Shin's journey to unlearn her romanticism of patriotism, see things beyond her privileged views and start working on a cause to save not only her own kind of Joseon, but everyone's Joseon that could include butchers and slaves;
3) Dong Mae's journey of nursing his angsty one sided love on his own and how would he wield his swords for her, his friendship with Hina and his little family consisted of the Japanese lowborns;
4) Hui Seong's journey of repairing the mistakes his family has done and help Ae Shin's cause and help Joseon;
5) Hina's journey of finding her mom and how her hostile relationship with her father Lee Wan Ik would further develop

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I was surprised and confused of Eugene and Ae-shin's development. They made a distance because of their social status, but all of a sudden it doesn't matter anymore. I'm really trying to look for the logic here, I don't know why Eugene suddenly decided to start things again. Is it because that Manchuria guy looked dangerous and he has connection with Ae-shin's dad so Eugene wants Ae-shin to be prepared? I really want to like Eugene, but this sudden turn of event has lost me.

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I don’t get episode 12. So, are they together as lovers now? Are they friends that flirt and write cute letters to each other? I kind of get that too. I’ve actually done that too. When there was such thing as writing letters, or was it email? But my pen pal worked for the FBI which is why I never pursued anything further than just flirtatious letters. So, if they’re just flirting and writing letters, I’m okay with that. But riding off into the sunset together? Did I totally misinterpret every conversation they had prior? I’m just wholly confused with that turn of event at the end. And they have to address Eugene’s transfer and Ae-shin’s larger involvement in the RA at some point, right?

Hee-Sung, I love you, man! I don’t know what you’re collecting all that money for, but it’s so entertaining to watch! BAM! First page! BAM! Second page! I really think actors really have a lot of fun with KES’ scripts and Byun Yo-Han is really enjoying every line he’s given and I love how he delivers every one.

Dong-Mae is just tragic. I love and hate his scenes. Him whispering to the fortune-teller affected me the most, how tender it was, then he just slashed the guy. So violent. And he still doesn’t get what patriotism and living life outside yourself is.

More of Hina with a sword please, and thank-you. I want her and Dong-Mae fighting each other and then with each other against someone else, swords and all.

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Byun Yo Han just elevates Hui Seong as a role so much more and I love love his portrayal. Every time he comes on screen it is so fun so see him, even with his tiniest moves. (I prefer sunny cinnamon roll-y Hui Seong so much more because solemn and angsty Hui Seong pains me).

More of Hina with a sword please, and thank-you. I want her and Dong-Mae fighting each other and then with each other against someone else, swords and all.

This! And I even wondered would there be one day where Hina and Dong Mae would go against each other and duel it out? I can see it given their great chemistry together and it could surely extent to an enmity chemistry and a gorgeous swords duel between them (and then they can became friends again and fight together against someone else. lol)

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Byun Yo Han does solemn and angsty well too. Actually too well. This guy is gonna make me cry buckets.

Dong Mae and Hina reminds me of Lee Kangto and Rie in Gaksital. Many found the couple hotter than Kangto and Mokdan, his pure childhood sweetheart.

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I have a hard time reconciling Byun Yo Han with his smarmy, greasy dude in Misaeang. He's really showing fantastic depth here, though the MVP on this show remains Yoo Yeon Sook by a MILE.

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Check out Byun Yo Han in Six Flying Dragons for another one of his nuanced portrayals of a heroic, tragic character.

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BAM! There goes my heart. 😂

Did you also notice he did the hands-on-face routine from the drama poster with his first victim? 🤣

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Basically Ae-shin and Eugene were like, Sod it! Ain't got time for this shit. Lols. :D

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I thought Hui sung just didn't want to go to his parents for money as he'd have to listen to nagging about spending it gambling.

Friends or lovers - has always been a matter of read-between-the-lines in Kdrama but the time period complicates this even more. They're definitely in love but I doubt anything physically intimate has happened. I'm also assuming they're just out for a ride and not going to see the ocean because Ae shin said it would take a few days to get there (I think) and they certainly weren't carrying enough gear.

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Have Eugene and Ae-shin changed their feelings from romance to friendship? I believe so, in spite of the continued flirting. Yes, I know it defies k-drama dogma if they were not the OTP. I just don’t see them being a traditional OTP. I could see some end-game scenarios where only Eugene is left to rescue Ae-Shin in the last episode, or they part but then reunite again many years later. @yyishere wrote some really good thoughts on this (see her episode 11 recap comments). I just don't see them regaining momentum romantically; I think they have both allowed the relationship to move in a different direction. @Ally-le shared some great insight on how Eugene sees Ae-Shin now (see her comments in ep 11 recap). I agree with what Ally wrote; Eugene sees Ae-Shin clearer than anyone else, and he won't hold her back or distract her with his love. Anyway, I do appreciate you beanies who have politely shared your different opinions on their relationships with me. I probably am nuts with this theory, but I’ll stay the course. If KES is being uncharacteristic in her writing and is throwing us a curve ball, I want my bat swinging in the anticipated spot to connect with it. :D

Hina's story arc is in full take-off mode now, and it's great. Is it just me, or does Hina wear new outfits in each episode? I wonder if any beanie here is up for the challenge of counting how many different outfits she is shown wearing throughout this show?

The scene where the old ex-slave seeks revenge by pouring water on Hee-sung was significant in that it showed Hee-sung is a good man. He is willing to pay for the sins of his family’s past actions, and still forgive those who lash out at him for those past sins. Eugene watching this scene was also significant. When Eugene offered his handkerchief to Hee-sung, it seems clear that Eugene has ended his own revenge against Hee-sung’s family. Hee-sung's star is rising. Seating is still available on board the "Third Lead Tram", for those of you interested in joining some of us who are riding it.

Then comes the scene of the Japanese guys attacking Hotaru, the mute fortune-teller. We see supposed bad-guys Yudo and Dong-mae coming to her defense quite heroically. These two ronins are shown in a favorable light. The current ongoing controversy in Korea about the historical inaccuracies and sympathetic portrayals in Mr. Sunshine is still in full swing, so I might have expected this scene to be either edited or cut out entirely. Thank goodness it wasn’t cut, because it was one of Yoo Yeon-seok’s best scenes so far. Which reminds me, whoever the make-up artist is in charge of "blood splatters" is doing a fantastic job with the splatters on YYS's face!

Later when Dong-mae visits the temple and begins to talk to Ae-Shin's deceased parents, I once again saw him as a human being, not just an animal. That was great writing, and I'm so glad we are still able to see these scenes for the Dong-mae character...

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(Continued)...As much as I enjoy KES’s writing, this episode did bother me with some really lame historical inaccuracies. No, it wasn't the Mosin-Nagant rifle. Although that model Mosin is inaccurate for 1903, it is waaay too sexy to bother me. What did bother me was the oh-so-late arrival of a Russian character. We should not have had to wait until the half-way point of this show to meet a Russian, because historically they had a big influence in Joseon during this time period (heck, Emperor Gojong even had Russian soldiers as a personal bodyguard). So it irritated me to finally see and hear the Russian Minister to Joseon. I think my irritation would have been less if he’d just stayed off screen.

Now we come to what really irritated me the most. It is how the historical character of US Minister Horace Allen has been written by KES. She’s written him as a corrupt man. However, there are many historical accounts (including his own writings) that refute this. I was especially annoyed by the scene in which he accepted the bribe from Lee Wan-ik, because I have found a historical account of a group that was planning to try to bribe for Allen, but then halting the plan when they realized he would not accept it. It seems cheap and petty for a writer as successful as KES to willfully besmirch this man's legacy with her fabrications. She could have at least changed the character's name, for goodness sake.

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I watched episode 12, then wrote the post on episode 11. The letters scene would probably be a way of communication for the two of them , I think, right until they grow old, since there's no way they can be together, not unless Ae Shin leaves Joseon for America, and I doubt she would do that, since she loves Joseon so much.

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Thanks for the shoutout, and the feeling is mutual, I’m enjoying your commentary about this drama as well. I had not seen episode 12 when I wrote episode 11’s comment, so as I mentioned above, the happenings between Eugene and Ae-shin this episode didn’t go quite like I had imagined. I still think that Eugene doesn’t want to be a source of conflict for her, so is actively helping her now. And now he knows that she was miserable without him, so is trying to ease that suffering as well. It just was more romantic than I wanted it to be.

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I feel the same. He just wants to be by her side and protect her as much as he can. At this point all 3 men have aligned in their mission. To protect her. Just that Eugene gets to 'hang-out' and go one dates ; )

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@Tim "Eugene watching this scene was also significant. When Eugene offered his handkerchief to Hee-sung, it seems clear that Eugene has ended his own revenge against Hee-sung’s family."
I don't know if Eugene has ended his revenge against Hee-sung's family--but he's ended it against Hee-sung for sure.

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Right, I am only guessing he is ending the revenge. But I think he now has an ulterior motive to end it; he has realized the Kim family must remain intact because they are needed to shield Ae-shin. Once again, I am just guessing based on my intuition about what is going on in Eugene's mind.

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I also feel that way. To visually see someone being mistreated/hated for no fault of theirs is different from wanting to hurt them. Eugene now knows that HS is on their side (atleast AeShin's side) and he is also willing to risk himself to protect her. Eugene has no reason to hold on to his hatred.

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Not to mention he stole HS's fiance! Once you drink with someone, the bro code applies. You dont take your bro's gal ; )
Wonder what will happen with HeeSung/Dong Mae figure this out.

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I've got another view on this though, I dunno but isn't it superstition that to give someone a handkerchief means you're going to make them cry or that you're going to cause them grief? Hina mused about the handkerchief thingy whilst talking to Ae-shin, that since she's been gifted one (when she cut her hand and Eugene gave her his handkerchief), is she the one to cry somewhere in Episode 9 thereabouts, anyway. And I was thinking, does Hee-sung's refusal to the handkerchief means he's trying to avoid the possibility of crying because of Eugene (probably somewhere in the future)? Heh. Or probably, I'm just looking too much into this thing. Heh. :D

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That’s interesting, I think you are on to something! Offering a handkerchief used to be a very Western thing to do (I’m thinking of old Hollywood movies) I took it was a sign of sympathy from Eugene. I agree that Hee-Sung may have had the superstition in mind, and he definitely did not want Eugene’s pity, so he refused. Perhaps he doesn’t think he deserves pity, or specifically, he doesn’t want pity from the guy interested in Ae-Shin.

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I like your analysis of Hee-Sung and Eugene’s handkerchief encounter. We’ve reached the end of the revenge on Eugene’s part..., but there is still the Kim family to contend with. It’s ironic that the reason Hee-Sung’s family didn’t push for the marriage was their fear of Eugene’s revenge... if they learn that reason is gone they won’t sit still. I just hope Hee Sung remains honourable. He’s the lonely shining star of his family. 🌟

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@tacourtn: I share your deep disappointment at how KES is depicting Dr. Allen. He was a hugely influential figure in Korean history, and was a strong advocate for Korean sovereignty. For those unfamiliar with his work, here’s a brief summary from koreanhistoricaldramas.com: Dr. Allen “arrived in Korea in September 1884 becoming the first Presbyterian medical missionary in Korea. In December 1884 the Gaspen Coup took place and Min Yong Ik, the nephew of Queen Min was seriously stabbed. Dr. Allen was called on to help Min, who healed within months. This was the first time they had ever seen western medicine used like this. Call it “Fate” or “God’s Will” or simply a freak coincidence, but this event lead to two important outcomes: 1) it guaranteed the safety and continued support of American missionaries in Korea and 2) the establishment of Jejoongwon.” (Jejoongwon was the first western hospital and medical school in Korea.) “In 1885, Dr. Allen became Jejoongwon’s first director and served as the King’s personal physician. As a result he had unprecedented access to the royal family and was the king’s trusted advisor. In 1887 he left Jejoongwon at the King’s request to accompany Korea’s first diplomatic trip to the United States. In 1897 he was appointed by the US as the Minister Resident/General Consul of Korea, and then in 1901 he was appointed as the US Envoy to Korea. Dr. Allen played a major role in bringing US companies into Korea to work on infrastructure projects and other commercial activities. President Theodore Roosevelt was pro-Japanese. Dr. Allen strongly criticized the US policy towards Korea and recognized that Japan was a threat to world peace. Dr. Allen warned the US that Korean sovereignty would be the only way to curb Japanese Imperialism. Well so much for that, he was fired in 1905 and moved back to his hometown in Ohio where he continued to write and speak about Korea.”

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And I found this fascinating: “The early Christian missionaries embraced everyone-- this means those who were formerly slaves, butchers and other “untouchables” were fully accepted into the fold, which up to this time was practically unheard of. When it came to women, these missionaries set up school for girls. This was the first time girls could receive an education outside of the home, which had never existed before. It was through these education missions, coupled with the ease of Hangul (Korean alphabet invented by King Sejong) that literacy rates among women and the lower classes skyrocketed. This in turn meant there were more people who could actually read the bible thereby spreading Christianity even more. For those in the higher castes, such as CheongMin and enlightened Yangban, adopting Christianity was viewed as part of the modernization process. For others, there was a strong relationship amongst Christians and the Korean independence movement. In essence, to be Christian was to be a true Korean Nationalist and vice versa. Most of the political leaders and prominent reformers leading up to and through the Japanese colonial period were Christians or had converted to Christianity as a political statement against the Japanese."

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@risaa Thanks for the history lesson from Korean perspective. With all the demonization of US around the world, it was surprising to see the first scene where Americans attacked Joseon to show strength then decided to let the hostages go free. It was nice to then see American Kyle be so open to Joseon culture at that time considering Joseon being in a quagmire of being carved up by so many other countries. I've always wondered how Christianity had such a stronghold on Koreans compared to other Asian countries. Because I know very little about the relations between countries in Joseon at this time, your clarification is truly appreciated. Your explanations give greater meaning to the events in this drama. A huge thank you to you!

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I just posted what I found-- the credit goes to bibimgirl at http://www.koreanhistoricaldramas.com.

I was really surprised about there being a strong relationship between Christianity and the Korean independence movement. There's so much to learn!

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Thanks @risaa for the nice summary of the truth about Dr. Allen. I was just too disgusted and depressed to show it to our friends here.

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risa, beautiful job! Thanks for finding such a clear and concise description of the role of Dr Allen and the early Protestant missionaries. It's SUPER annoying that the show indicates that he personally accepted a case of money, and over such a stupid fictional sub-story. I wouldn't mind if KES apologized to his heirs.

Jejoongwon was renamed Severance Hospital in 1904 (after a large donation from a Cleveland philanthropist) which today is part of Yonsei University Health System.

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Here are details regarding a book he wrote, "Things Korean" which is fascinating. That being said he was very condescending. It is in the public domain so you can read it for free.
You know what they say about the victors writing history, but I can't read Korean so I dont know both sides if the story.
Things Korean; a collection of sketches and anecdotes, missionary and diplomatic
by Allen, Horace Newton, 1858-1932

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Thank you so much for posting this! I see what you mean-- some of it is very cringey.

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yep, very cringey

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I'm 99% sure that Hina has repeated some dresses but I'm not going back to count. Sorry, Tim. I'll see what I can do from here forward.

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Thanks , I was just curious from the standpoint of trivia. That woman has a humongous wardrobe!

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I marvel at who her dressmaker(s) is (are) and where they are acquiring the fabrics for her. I figured she's got a ready supply, so it was no big deal to part with three dresses, especially for a case full of gold bars 😜

Hey, what's the deal with her purchase of the evil minister's estate, anyway? I'm looking forward to what she intends for that.

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The only thing I can think of as to why she bought that estate is that she is worried Lee Wan-ik may force her out of the Glory Hotel, so she would need a fallback plan.

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i m rewatching ...wat i do when waiting for the next episode to air.. so i ll try n tally

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Go for it @lizmesenas21 !

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Fantastic!

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Also, Dong Mae's scene at the temple. Wow.

I'm not good in Korean and this might have some mistakes and is translated almost too literally to what being said, but still, they cut me deeper and pained me more, what more with Dong Mae's humble and heartfelt delivery. *cries*

"You wouldn't welcome me, but I still wanted to greet you.
Do you know what your daughter Young Lady Ae Shin is doing? Tsch, I wonder if she talks to you about such things. Then do you know why is she doing it? This bastard... does not know why.

Not knowing I'd humbly meet you like this, this bastard employed a sword. Do you know who the person I slashed for the first time was? It was Young Lady Ae Shin.

"You're a noble bitch who's prostrate with luxury". I pick and choose the sharpest words there ever was and slashed Young Lady Ae Shin with them. Do you think it hurt her? Sometimes, I hope she's still hurt because of it. Yet sometimes, I hope she has forgotten all about it, too.

It would not be possible for me, would it, Sir? Even if I hide everything and pretending I know nothing.

I suppose it will never be possible... for this bastard."

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This is heartbreaking....the bastard reference...so sad. *cries*

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Wow, thanks for sharing that. Your translation is more powerful than those subtitles I read.

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Dong-mae's story is the most heart-breaking of all... :(

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He is, like the Grim Reaper in Goblin. *cries*

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During that scene I was really wishing that something magical would happen at that temple and Ae-shin and Dong-mae could find themselves happy together in another life a la Grim Reaper and Sunny.

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Thank you for sharing. It is heartbreaking indeed. The every mentions of himself as a bastard is just... T__T

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He referred to himself as "이놈 / 이놈은" which could literally be translated "this bastard/ this damn guy". I think it could be a personal pronoun (but pejorative) and can just be translated as "I", but if we go with just 'I', we wouldn't notice how he actually degrade himself a lot in front of her parents :(

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You are correct. It is not just 'I'. That second is usually said to refer to a bad person. So, he is using pronoun and addressing himself as a bad person.

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*CRIES IN CAPSLOCK TT_____TT *

It's like the show wanting to show us how Dong Mae resigning and recognising the impossibility of him to ever be considered by Ae Shin in a greater magnitude of angst and want us to bask in the painnnnnnn (in B99's Captain Holt's voice).

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"이놈" is also a man indicating himself to higher class. I think in this case, considering it's to Aeshin's parents who were nobles, it shows also class-gab between Aeshin and Dongmae.

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ah yes, thank you for that clarification. Now that you mentioned it, I remember that in most sageuk, the higher class will often use this remark when addressing a lower class person.

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Thank you for this translation. KES does it again; her words are so poetic yet powerful. This is why Korea loves her shows. I think your translation is better than what I’m watching.

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your translation makes me love dongmae more. So raw. So honest.

what is the korean word that translates into 'bastard'? what meaning does it carry for him to use that reference upon himself?

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daydreamer11, you can translate for me anytime. Nicely done. Thanks

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Hina and Ae-shin eat some PPL cake at the bakery

Gotta be tough doing PPL set a century ago.

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I guffawed, knowing that that striped pastel cake is surely available at a Paris Baguette near you 🤣🤦🏻‍♀️

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First of all, watching this serial made me think "the same feeling" from reading a classic novel like "Love in the Time of Cholera", even though I know it's really a different story, background, and everything. But the feeling though.... :(

I'm curious with the card reader and her relationship with Dong-mae. She seems like to love Dong-mae, but I don't think it's mutual from Dong-mae's side since it's so obvious whose Dong-mae's heart for. And is she really mute? Because she never spoke, and sometimes she communicate with her writing to Dong-mae or just simply showing her cards to him.

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Before this show ends we must have a scene where Hotaru reads Eugene's fortune. I will be on pins and needles when that happens.

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Rolf

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According to the actress playing Hotaru (Kim Young Ji - she is a model and Mr Sunshine is her first acting gig) in her interview, Hotaru is a member of Dong Mae's gang, she is a fortune teller that reads tarot card and is (or could be was?) a geisha. She is friendly to Dong Mae especially and didn't care much about the others, but that doesn't mean she likes Dong Mae like that (aka romantically). So I guess they could be close but more like a family, as I saw Dong Mae seems to take care of her like a little sister.

The actress also said as the story progresses, a hidden story of Dong Mae and Hotaru will be unveiled.

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Oh goody, thanks for sharing that teaser. I want more Hotaru scenes, whoever she interacts with.

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Hotaru's attire is not for geisha but more of low ranking woman or possibly a prostitute. However I do not think she is portrayed as a prostitute here. Geisha is trained and versed in many arts and they have certain dress code. Having said that I find Hina's Japanese dress code is very unfitting sometimes for her rank and age.

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Hina looks like she's dressed in a Japanese "costume" or more like a (maybe even a kind of low level?) geisha herself than proper Japanese
rich lady's clothing for her station, are you thinking along those lines?

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PS: the PPL cakes look so good, Hahaha.

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It did make me want to bake one. I've done a rainbow cake so this should be doable.

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I really don't understand all the confusion on the sudden turn around with Ae Sin and Eugene. They tried to be apart from each other, it didn't work. Eugene concocted a reason to see each other that wasn't dating and they ran with it. They are having a non-conventional romance. Since when does love have to have a reason? Has no one ever loved someone they knew it wouldn't work out with but proceded with the relationship anyway? They live in turbulent times and lead secret double lives filled with deaths of the people around them. Is it impossible to think they are willing to throw caution to the wind to find a little bit of happiness, even if it's fleeting? Would everyone saying it doesn't make sense be saying the same thing if it were Dong Mae?

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May I answer your last question? For me, yes, if the same happened with DM in the picture, I would be bewildered as well. The only one I am seeing as being the most logical choice for her is HS. Unfortunately, story was made that her heart is currently occupied with EC. Actually, the changes that happened between ep 10 to 12 in regard to AS-EC decisions on their relationship is a bit unrelatable (?) I can't find the right word but yeah, the changes seems flip flop... to be or not to be together, if she decided to stick as Lady Go then she really shouldn't be spending that kind of moments with him cause these two are so attracted too one another such encounters will only hurt them if they happen to be forced to separate later on... just my two cents. Cheers!

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You didnt' read their exchange deep enough. AeShin didn't say that "Im AeShin go till death" to reject Eugene, she was saying that as a question, through which Eugene answered brilliantly, what matter is that She's here with him in this moment. They decided to take it step by step instead of worrying about the future.

That's the message that KES trying to convey to young couple these days who speak much about future instead of focusing on what matter most in a relationship.

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Perhaps you are right. But the way I see it is she just telling/convincing herself or perhaps indirectly informing him the decision she finally made which is to take up his advice to remain who she is as it is safer as he said, not to risk anything more that could jeopardise whatever future that lies on her road as a righteous army. EC's reply was just to show his support of her decision and applaud her so by simply saying "You should". That is just about it and that is just how I look at it. I really wish not to further comments on the relationship between AS and EC because their romance is not the reason I tuned in, besides I already knew they are the end game, so I am not even wanting to question that. My concern is more on AS and her stance in the cause that she has been living her life to fight for. She was made to realise the flaw in her perception towards that cause. I have been wanting that to happen and I am glad it did. Then she decided to not further pursue her feelings because she does not want to create more unnecessary risk. That I also applaud because now we can focus on what really matters to her which is the righteous army and their cause, no? But then she went backward on her decision and allowed herself to be in that blissful moments. Talking about not risking anything further, well she might eventually be risking quite a lot later on. Even now she can't really control her feelings towards him with those brooding longing hours, what if later on he was caught or in danger? Will she be able to remain calm? I am actually mainly invested in AS as the sassy, badass righteous army. Anything else related to her is just secondary. But again, that is just me.

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Very intuitive of you...

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Well, he was saying goodbye and they had agreed to stay away from each other... but the episode ended with riding into the sunset. The only way it makes sense to me is that they are in an unofficial, unspoken relationship. He can’t confess to her because of their different social status. I was ok with gun training because it was an excuse to be together. The letters were cute and flirty (like random text messages about zebras and flowers). But the ride into the sunset was weird. Why take the trouble of leaving hidden notes and signs of Ae Shin can just wear her disguise and ride off together on romantic dates?

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Nope, they are officially dating as of now, decided to focus on present and not worry about the future.

What matter is that they are in love, and that's the most fundamental thing they should focus on.

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If it were only that Eugene bought her a rifle (a better one than the one she had) and offered to teach her. Then I could accept it. Because so far, Mr. Sunshine has been excruciatingly slow and methodical in it's pace. Now, all of a sudden time moves super fast. I think what bugged me was that the letter trading scenes (which had to occur over days) and the riding off to the beach couple on horseback scene--the setup, planning, and actual trip must have taken some time. And unless I get flashbacks on what everyone else was doing--I'm not going to be happy. : )

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Here, here! I'm with you on all counts -- very brave of you...

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This is new for me. I think this is the first drama where my feelings are opposite to most of the beanies. I REALLY REALLY LIKE the romance between Eugene and Ae-shin. The romance is pure, subtle and exiting. They are not thinking of what will happen in the future, they are just enjoying the present together, as long as they can. I think that's love. Respecting and admiring each other. It is not "kiss-on-the-first-or-second-sight-to prove-their-love".

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Wow, finally found the only person that can grasp what the writer truly wishes to convey.!!

Their dialogue exchange bring so much subtle details of their feeling, i feel like the beanies are leaving it out

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I may be the third person thinking the same... they are simply living the present because given their situation it is just the only thing they can do. Carpe diem....

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I like their romance as well! :)

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Exactly! I'm not sure why people are focusing on their words but not looking at what they're behaving. Didn't we all do something we know we shouldn't but did it anyway?

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I like both of their characters and I'm okay if they just end up hanging out with each other. They have their own clique and enjoy being in each others company.

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I like all the main characters, and I think the romance part is so natural and well-done!

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Yep -- good eye -- that's exactly the way I see it!

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The fortune-teller lady Hotaru has managed to pique my curiosity every time she appears and she hasn't even spoken a word. I'm really dying to know more about her. And today's runaway revelation is…Yujo. Lol. Yujo is da man. Ha! Okay, that single scene with Yujo was quite heartbreaking. You can definitely see the struggle in his eyes wanting to just slash away at the dude but he can't. This show has a lot of good scene-stealing side characters. Heh.

I'm still a wee bit confused as to where the love story is headed but with everything else in this show I just let it take me and see where it goes.

I find it relieving yet disconcerting at the same time that no matter how twisted Wan-ik is, he still doesn't like Hina getting hurt; he probably thinks of her as some valuable commodity that he can use to further whatever agenda he has (which is disgusting), but somehow I feel relieved that nobody's going to mess up with Hina without Wan-ik making their lives miserable. On the other hand, the only person really capable of messing around with Hina is Wan-ik himself.

Even though it seems as if everyone in this show decided to reveal their marshmallow centre, it is Hee-sung that continues to impress me. He knows that people will think of him the same way as they always have, i.e., a self-entitled brat whose family has lived off on the misery of others, yet he still manages to keep up that pretence and try to make up for what his family has done. He's like Ae-shin, in the way that they use their nobility to hide their causes, but unlike Ae-shin, his comes from a place of guilt and Hee-sung is fully aware of this. He's fully able to utilise it though since he is more aware of the disparity between his position and those of others than Ae-shin does with her own position. I'm hoping that these two can learn from each other's books since even though they have different styles, their situations mirror each other.

Lol, didn't realise that the cake is PPL too. I thought it was only the coffee in this show. Hah!

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The tram has suddenly been propelled to centre stage, with a lot of scenes built around it, starting from episode 11, and this episode.

So I want to share with beanies here the deep regret that is compelling me to write this post.

You see, I could have been the tram. Yes, they offered the role to me, but fool that I was - hm, where have I heard that phrase before - I turned it down, because of my fear of motion sickness.

I am sighing and wringing my hands now for what could have been a breakthrough role for me.

I may write a book one day titled: A ONE-TRACK MIND: THE MEMOIRS OF THE TRAM THAT COULD HAVE BEEN. I have to thank my dear friend, @pakalanapikake for that beautifully moving title: she suggested it, and I am going to dedicate my autobiography to her.

The first line would read: No matter how far I go, and regardless of the direction I take, I always seem to come back to the same point from where I started. 😟😟😟😟

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Mathematically speaking, your last line is the literary way of explaining integrals in a simple closed curve (i.e., not like the shape of 8 with overlap, but like 0 or D). The answer that you get is zero, regardless of the direction (anti-clockwise, or clockwise). Hah! :)

(Sorry for the nerd alert. But I can't resist linking maths with this ha!).

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The tram reminds me of the train in Westworld, the brilliant tv series that I love, and the journey of self-discovery each character takes on that train. Sometmes, watching Mr. Sunshine, I wonder if KES watched the same shows that I did, and whether it influenced the writing, and visuals in this drama. When I see Ae Shin in her gunner outfit, I am reminded of Rey.

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Hmmm...is it possible to continue watching this drama without paying attention to the romance?

I did not set out to dislike the OTP or even say KES's writing. I just don't get the romance. I really rather would because I'd love to rave and swoon together with beanies here then look on wondering what's it all about. I am however, interested enough in the story and most characters to want to continue watching. Which I thought I did fine until I skimmed and read some comments here. Forgive me for I fast forward all Eugene and Ae Shin's lovey dovey scenes - my questions are "Did they confess or accept each other's love? Acknowledge they are a couple?"
It would help me in my understanding.

I also realized I have very different reaction compared to beanies here to certain scenes. I couldn't get Dong Mae's conversation in front of the Ae Shin's parents tablets. I'd go so far as to say I think it was overly dramatic. I don't mean YYS's acting but the writing.

Through this drama, I think I can understand why KES has many admirers as well as detractors. Her style is clearly not my preference but Mr Sunshine is still a good watch for me.

At the moment, characters like Hee Sung and Hina grip me the most and I enjoy the overall humor. I am writing a fanfic in my head involving:
Eugene and Hina as lovers in the past until evil Dad married off Hina for power/money and tore the couple apart.
Hee Sung falls more and more in love with Ae Shin after finding out she's not the typical noblewoman. He supports her in her cause, giving up is life and fortune for her but Ae Shin is in love with Eugene.
Dong Mae nurses a secret love for Hina but Hina still loves Eugene.

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I continuously watch this drama with mix feelings, it's becoming a bit complicated for me to brain some of the story. Though I ended watching without paying attention to the romance. This DM character is really...sigh.... he is the only one who harbors long term feelings towards AS and also the one with zero chance. Then comes two other suitors who just met her and fell for her at first sight and both held equal chance for her hand based on their own merits. I have decided to take the denial pill and assume that the temple scene will be the point where he is resigning himself to the painful fact that she is to far a reach for him. He will keep her close in his heart due to their fateful past but at the same time he will open up to others cue HN if dramagod feels kind enough to make that happen. EC gotta know about AS parent's history but DM gotta meet and greet the parent and still won't have a chance. Too tragic... perhaps the scene should be switched.... I don't know...

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Wow I wish I could "watch" your fanfic instead, I'm enjoying the drama but still can't get a real grip of what it's trying to say and its slow pace bothers me to no end (there often are many unnecessary scenes dragged when it could have given us more interesting back stories of Hina and Hee Sung - these two are my faves too!)

And no you're not alone, I reacted the same with scenes you have problems with, read Eugene - Ae Shin romance and especially Dong Mae's monologue.
About EC-AS scenes I could just fast forward cause I don't feel connected that much to their characters nor romance. But Dong Mae, ugh too bad I kind of like his character so I just sat there and cringed a bit when he started to pour his heart out in front of Ae Shin's parents tablets. I was like ???????? the scene was so random and just again painted Dong Mae as a stalker (which I'm very uncomfortable with) and convinced me more that Dong Mae's affection to Ae Shin is not "love" but some kind of a traumatized obsession.

I found myself swoon more at his scenes with Hina (the tram and the umbrella scenes), their relationship is told to be friendship but the chemistry speaks romance to me and that's the kind of romance I sign for in this drama, besides another impossible ship aka Ae Shin - Hee Sung.

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Dong Mae is the type character which I usually love. Strangely, I don't feel particularly very excited about him. There were even some points at which I felt YYS could do better. Ooopsie! However, I am going to put it down to writing more than acting.

I was sold by Done Mae's childhood story, however he has become just a sullen character as a grown up more than anything else. I think I enjoy him most when he's cutting down the baddies or the hilarious snarky exchanges among the 3 guys.

To me, Byun Yo Han is the standout although he would be considered the 3rd lead. So far, there is no real proof that he would amount to anything more than a dandy playboy who realizes how attractive his fiancee has grown to be. Yet, with very little proof and lines even, Byun Yo Han has kept us interested to see how Hee Sung will turn out and whether he'd play a bigger role.

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Similarly, I also look forward to DM's wielding his sword or even holding the rifle more than anything else. I still can't forget that beautifully filmed running and shooting scene at the railway station and each time he slashed someone. Right now, I really want to forget that he holds that much affections towards AS. I just want him to move on and be great fighting alongside HN. And HS... I predict he will be an influential man and use that position to assist AS. I am with Tim that I sense he has a good chance to marry AS, though may not be for love. We'll see about that.

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Yes, we talked about that. It's a possible scenario and an absolutely heart breaking one. For Hee Sung and me.

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Dong Mae's affection to Ae Shin is not "love" but some kind of a traumatized obsession. The evidence of obsession and not true love seems to be there, doesn't it? I think your words here have convinced me. What DM feels for her is definitely warped and distorted, whether we call it love or obsession.

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When I pondered about it, I too am not sure if it is love. He is grateful and yet he also hates her for saving him (?) He has developed this affection towards her maybe because she has the gut to defy norms and saved him(?) And now that he knows she is not a normal noble lady, add amazement and awe to that and also confusion of why she chose to live dangerously. I can also see elements of obsession because his deep feelings are just based on that one moment. Will it be enough to initiate love? I don't know. I just want him to get out of it. Maybe just remain respectful of her and protect her because that's the least he could do considering his unrequited feelings. We'll see how it goes from here. Here for hoping something more positive comes out from that temple scene.

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Unless Dong Mae goes psycho, I won't try to figure if it's an obsession or love. These two overlap more often than not. Especially in dramas.

I can understand why Ae Shin is in a unique place in DM's heart. It's the first time, someone treated him as a human besides his parents when she hid him in her palanquin. Now this 'noble idiot' (can't resist!) is a badass rebel fighter, what else can make her even more irresistible?

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This show is definitely still my favorite KES drama to date. So many great character development in each episode.
I don’t understand why some viewers find it so hard to see what EC and AS are doing. AS steps back because she knows that they’ll never have a future together in Joseon. EC sees her pain and he steps back as well.
After seeing how corrupted his American boss is and knowing that Wan-Ik is controlling so many things behind the scene, he felt the need to protect AS and her cause. So he’s going to make her a better sniper and in the process give himself a chance to be near her. He’s going in knowing that he’ll never be acknowledge as her boyfriend/fiancé.

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Probably because he doesn't want to take Aeshin away from Joseon... nor ruin her cover. Her cover as a noblewoman is the best way she can protect herself from the fighting... but we'll have to see if it's still safe for her to be Go Aeshin after her grandfather takes action. I'm very excited to see how the pieces fall and I'm in tune with everything that you said.

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