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Mr. Sunshine: Episode 16

The truth requires one to courageously accept the consequences, and it seems that Hee-sung is finally ready to embrace the consequences of his family’s sins. He makes major sacrifices, and he also follows his mantra of admiring beautiful and useless things to establish something that might become quite the opposite. Meanwhile, the resistance continues to brew under the pressure of the enemy forces, and we can only hope that all this buildup will amount to something soon.

 
EPISODE 16 RECAP

Ae-shin and Hee-sung kneel outside in front of Grandfather’s room, and Hee-sung says that he already knew that Ae-shin loves someone else. He takes out the letter from his family confirming their marriage and tells Ae-shin that he just adopted some ill intentions.

Night falls, and Aunt updates Grandfather on the Hee-sung/Ae-shin situation outside. She urges him to stay resolute and not allow these foolish kids to break a promise between their families. Grandfather tries to unpack this situation, thinking about Hee-sung’s claim that he doesn’t like Ae-shin, and Ae-shin’s claim that she loves someone else.

Outside, Hee-sung disapproves of Ae-shin’s rash confession to Grandfather and tells her that breaking a promise between families takes time. She realizes that Hee-sung’s ill intentions align with her intentions to break their marriage. Hee-sung sadly explains that there are two ways to admire a flower: cut it and put it in a vase, or follow the path toward the flower. He’s choosing the latter, an ill intention for him because there will be no flower at the end of this path.

Ae-shin apologizes, but Hee-sung tells her to only worry about herself since breaking this engagement will make her a flawed woman in society. He asks that she wait until he’s finished with his current project, after which he promises to grant her wish to become this flawed woman. Ae-shin agrees, and Hee-sung smiles at her affirmation.

When Hee-sung’s servant discovers him at Ae-shin’s house, Hee-sung instructs his frantic servant to assure his parents that he retreated to the hotel. He decides that they need to resolve their immediate situation and pretends to faint, since adults always need some excuse to break an impasse. Ae-shin holds an “unconscious” Hee-sung, and the servants urgently report that Hee-sung suddenly fainted. In response, Aunt orders Ae-shin’s servants to retrieve medicine and carry Hee-sung home, effectively freeing them from the locked storage room.

Hee-sung treats Ae-shin’s servants to soup and jokes that he could stand his legs falling asleep but couldn’t stand the hunger. They agree to the story that the servants retrieved medicine and that the maid carried him home, since that will be more believable than the manservant having managed to do it. Heh. Ae-shin’s maid agrees to this, and Hee-sung notices her pitiful glance. She says that it seems that none of them — Hee-sung, Ae-shin, and Eugene — have it easy and seem so lonely. Her voice breaks and she turns her attention to eating soup.

Eugene supervises his soldiers as they deliver supplies to the language school. As he walks through the school, he recognizes Ae-shin’s handwriting on the advertisement. The English teacher tells Eugene that the ad was written by a passionate student, and Eugene says that he remembers her from her visit to the legation. He notices that she’s not at the school, and the instructor informs him that Ae-shin hasn’t been to the school recently. Curious about Ae-shin, Eugene checks their correspondence cabinet at the medicine shop, but he finds no word from her.

When Hee-sung returns to the hotel, he runs into Eugene in the lobby and reveals that he knows everything about his family’s sins that caused Eugene’s tragic childhood. He says he won’t apologize yet, and Eugene says that he didn’t expect it, though he knows that Hee-sung is a person who will eventually apologize. Aw, that’s kind of sweet. Hee-sung also shares that for the first time, he’s the first to know news on Ae-shin before the others, but he won’t share it with Eugene because he hopes that Eugene is the last to find out. Ha, and that’s kind of petty.

With that, Hee-sung heads up to his room, and Hina comes down the stairs to hand Eugene his keys. She apologizes for setting him up in a meeting with Minister Lee without consent, and Eugene asks if Minister Lee is leveraging a weakness against her. She wonders if their business is driven by her weakness or a symbiotic relationship.

Hina then explains her symbiotic relationship with Eugene’s “friend,” aka Ae-shin, who she casually escorted out of the hotel when the Righteous Army targeted Eugene. She also spills the news on Ae-shin’s marriage with Hee-sung, informing Eugene of the formal marriage letter in Hee-sung’s hand.

Eugene thinks back to his conversation with Ae-shin at the east sea. Ae-shin told him about the prospect of her breaking her engagement. She imagined that she would be exiled, so she would escape to Shanghai, where she could meet her father’s comrades. She imagined that Eugene would have returned to the U.S. by then, but at that moment, she had imagined him beside her in this future. Back in the present, Ae-shin looks at an old letter from Eugene, and the message in the letter — about longing being the next step in love — seems to align with their current pathos.

Seung-gu pays Eugene a visit at Glory Hotel to return his gun that Eugene had left with Eun-san, and he starts to take off his shoes before noticing Eugene still in his shoes in his room. Yes, relatable. Seung-gu tells Eugene that Eun-san and Minister Lee are reputed to be the most cold-blooded people in Joseon, but he’s here to run this errand because he’s got a soft heart.

Seung-gu notes that Eugene stopped by their hideout with a new gun, and he brags that Eugene won’t have to teach Ae-shin much because she had a great teacher who built her a strong foundation. He tells Eugene that he taught Ae-shin for ten years, and she persevered through long and rough paths, avoiding the public’s eye to train at the hideout. He knows that Ae-shin will do the same as she travels the path to Eugene, which she claims is further than her journey to the east sea. If this is an inevitable path for Ae-shin, then Seung-gu asks that Eugene remain at the end of this path for her. Eugene asks the reason for Seung-gu’s change of heart, and Seung-gu says that he pities the two and wants to cheer for them since they’ll face plenty of opposition.

Eun-san’s apprentice brings him the last of Eugene’s beer, and Eun-san regrets that he won’t be able to taste this bland drink, which he’s finally come to enjoy. Apprentice wonders if the beer is expensive, and Eun-san admits that Eugene’s sincerity may be too expensive to buy.

After confirming the truth about Ae-shin’s lover with her servants, Grandfather sternly scolds Ae-shin for not telling him sooner. He tells Ae-shin to marry and live in the safety of her husband’s shield, but Ae-shin refuses and asserts that she will determine her own life. Grandfather refuses to believe Ae-shin until he sees this man in person, but Ae-shin once again asserts that she’s strong enough to shield herself and doesn’t intend on using this man as her shield. Grandfather puts Ae-shin on house arrest until she brings Eugene in front of him.

Ae-shin stumbles as she walks out of Grandfather’s room, and she asks her servants to remain silent if Grandfather asks them separately for Eugene’s identity. They agree to keep the secret, but they end up asking Eugene to reveal himself to Grandfather, as their worry for Ae-shin precedes their honor. They tell Eugene about Ae-shin’s stubborn refusal to marry, and he realizes that this was the news that Hee-sung was keeping from him.

Eugene and Ae-shin kneel through Grandfather’s questioning, and Eugene confirms that he and Ae-shin love each other. Even with Eugene’s explanation of his past — fleeing Joseon to save his life and becoming a solider to be accepted as an American — Grandfather can’t accept Ae-shin’s relationship with an American who’s a part of the invading army in Joseon. Eugene insists that he wishes for Joseon’s safety, but Grandfather doesn’t believe Eugene, who calls the U.S. his home country.

Then, Eugene reveals that he met Grandfather previously in his youth, when Grandfather had warned him, a slave, to keep his eyes on the ground if he wanted to live a longer life. Grandfather realizes that Eugene was the precocious boy who commented on the black bird in the blue sky, and he explodes with more rage at Eugene’s lowly background. Ae-shin defends Eugene, and Eugene retreats from the room upon her request.

Grandfather scolds Ae-shin for bringing such shame upon her family, and he forbids her from going to Eugene. He tells her to live alone for the rest of her life, and Ae-shin agrees to his terms. As soon as Ae-shin leaves Grandfather’s room, she runs after Eugene, fearlessly jumping over the wall in her dress. She chases after him through the hills and is out of breath when she finally catches up to him.

Ae-shin didn’t realize he would leave so fast and chased after him to say goodbye, since she doesn’t know when she’ll see him next. Eugene notices that she lost her shoe, and he turns back to retrieve it. He kneels before her to gently put on her shoe, and Ae-shin looks touched by this simple gesture, fighting back tears. She asks him to forgive Grandfather, and Eugene claims that he’s grateful to Grandfather for the opportunity to see her. He tells Ae-shin that she must have gotten her best traits from her wise grandfather.

Ae-shin anxiously looks behind her, and Eugene lets her leave, saying that they’ll meet again with a forced optimism. Ae-shin runs back home, holding back tears, and Eugene watches her leave longingly. Back at his hotel, Eugene looks at the American name on his uniform. In her room, Ae-shin stands with her soiled socks and thinks back to her trip with Eugene to the east sea.

As Ae-shin and Eugene walked along the shore, she shared her hopes of walking freely alongside Eugene in the U.S. She asked if people are used to seeing a man and woman walk side by side there, and Eugene said that they would stare anyway because they would look so good together. We see Ae-shin’s imagination come to fruition, as she strolls down the street in Western dress, arms linked with Eugene.

In this imagined life, Ae-shin enjoys a picnic with Eugene, and she marvels at a zebra in the yard of grass in front of them (lol). Ae-shin studies about the world and the stars with her diverse American friends and then she meets up with Eugene in front of a fountain. He waves at her, and Ae-shin narrates that she’s initially shy but then full of happiness. They also stand in front of the music shop, listening to the melody they both like. Then at the end of the night, they say goodbye.

In front of the music shop, Ae-shin tells Eugene that she’s learned how Westerners bid farewell, and she leans in toward his face in the motion of a cheek kiss. She steps back and says, “Goodbye.” But Eugene prefers that they say, “See you,” which doesn’t hold such finality. Ae-shin takes his suggestion and bids him farewell with a hopeful “See you again.” They linger in front of the music shop at night, staring at each other longingly. Back in her room, Ae-shin thinks about her hopeful fantasy and cries at the tragic reality of their relationship.

Hina looks at the photo of her and her mother, and she thinks back to Minster Lee’s deceitful use of her mother’s whereabouts. She calls him a bastard, but her anger is interrupted by a summoning by the royal at Gyeongseon Palace. The royal concubine asks Hina for a candid explanation of Japan’s push for currency exchange and the emperor’s stern opposition to this. In simple terms, Hina explains that Japan’s banknotes are worthless outside of Joseon, and with the pervasiveness of these banknotes, granting the currency exchange of these banknotes could result in Japan’s bank usurping Joseon’s economy.

The royal concubine says that this is why she’s building the school for girls, since it’s unfair for only men to be educated and worried about such important matters for the nation. Hear, hear! She tells Hina about Wan-ik’s appointment to the foreign minister position, and she scorns his venomous tongue for urging the emperor to lift this currency exchange ban. Hina’s face hardens at the mention of her father, and we visit the debate about this ban in the emperor’s court.

Wan-ik and his supporters pressure Emperor Gojong to lift the ban, which is adding to Japan’s aggression against Joseon. They argue that the emperor must lift this ban to ensure the safety of the Joseon people, but Minister Lee urges to emperor to remain resolute on his position to protect Joseon’s sovereignty. The emperor finds more validity in Wan-ik’s argument and reluctantly grants the banknote currency exchange under the condition that these banknotes are inspected annually. Wan-ik looks at Minister Lee with a devilish smile and praises the emperor for this decision.

Dong-mae tracks down the police chief who interrogated him, and investigates Wan-ik’s motive to frame Nobleman Go, aka Grandfather. The police chief claims that he just followed orders, but he thinks more critically when Dong-mae loosens the sword from his scabbard. The police chief trembles in fear and reports that he heard something from the post office manager about letters that Nobleman Go sent.

Dong-mae follows these clues, and his lackeys bring the post office manager in alongside the police chief. The post office manager claims that he burned all of Nobleman Go’s letters at Wan-ik’s order, but he saved one just in case his life depended on it. Dong-mae says that the time is now, and he forces the two men to trace their hands as a signature on a blank contract. He hasn’t decided the terms of the contract yet, so he suggests (read: threatens) that the two men remain silent. Dong-mae eats at his regular bar with the copy of the letter at the table, wondering if rebellion runs in the family.

The bakery owner refuses a Japanese customer who tries to use Japanese currency, and he grabs Dong-mae’s attention as he passes through the streets in attempts to scare off this customer. Dong-mae draws his sword in annoyance, which effectively scares off the Japanese customer but also ends up frightening the baker as well.

Eugene visits the pawnshop to pay the duo for their services, but Il-shik requests a different form of payment. He explains the circumstances of another pawnshop customer, a young man formerly from a noble family who wishes to enlist in the military academy. The young man’s parents were killed for being the instigators for a movement to depose Wan-ik about five years ago, and they need to recreate an identity for the young man to enlist in the military academy, which only accepts nobles. They simply ask Eugene to sign a forged document as a guarantor for this young man’s enlistment. Eugene suspects that they’ll get caught, but the duo assures him of their perfect forging abilities.

This young man, who we’ll later know as JOON-YOUNG (the late but welcome addition, Jang Dong-yoon), and his friends discuss the different methods of obtaining a gun. One of his friends wonders if they could negotiate with a gunner, but another friend refuses to stoop that low. Joon-young says that the military academy is their best bet, and he assures his friends that he has a reliable source for the forged enlistment documents. They decide to make three more rounds around town in a casual stroll to prepare for training at the military academy. Yes, that’ll surely prepare them…

Minister Lee meets with Eun-san and requests for Seung-gu to be their new replacement for the head of palace security. He acknowledges Seung-gu’s skills for the job, but he also needs someone who won’t be bribed by Wan-ik or have any family for Wan-ik to target. Eun-san doesn’t think Seung-gu will accept the position, but Minister Lee expects Eun-san to come through with this proposal because he granted him a favor (clearing Joseph’s name for Eugene). On second thought, Eun-san remembers Seung-gu’s vow to become a rebel against Joseon and thinks that Seung-gu may fit the role.

Eun-san then asks about Eugene, and Minister Lee says that he convinced Eugene to accept the drill instructor position at the Joseon Royal Military Academy by using the Righteous Army as bait. Eun-san calls him shameless and leaves, promising correspondence about Seung-gu.

Dong-mae jumps over the wall into Ae-shin’s house and boldly approaches Grandfather. The servant calls for backup, and Ae-shin follows the sudden commotion to find Dong-mae confronting her grandfather while the servants around them panic. Dong-mae simply delivers Grandfather’s unsent letter and reveals that the remaining letters were burned. He warns Grandfather that someone is targeting him, but Grandfather expresses suspicion at the word of a foreign man who trespassed into his home. Thinking about his money exchange with Ae-shin, he assures Grandfather that he’s a Joseon person for now, since he received Joseon money.

With that, Dong-mae leaves, and Grandfather ponders how two foreign men — Eugene and Dong-mae — have entered his home to deliver these warnings. Putting his suspicions aside, Grandfather realizes that he’s in danger regardless because his cards have been revealed. He seems grateful to know that these letters never reached their destination because he would have drowned in despair at the lack of response. But now that he knows that these letters were never sent, he seeks an inkling of hope. He then orders his servant to send Seung-gu in secret.

Ae-shin paces in her room, worried about why Dong-mae would confront Grandfather. To figure out, she asks her maid to send the peddler the next day, and we see that Ae-shin used the peddler as a messenger for a letter to Hina. In the letter, Ae-shin asks Hina to find out why Dong-mae trespassed into her home and what he delivered to Grandfather.

Cue: Dong-mae entering Hina’s room and offering to buy her nice clothes for protecting Hotaru, the tarot card reader loyal to Dong-mae. Hina asks for another form of payment: Dong-mae’s reason for trespassing into Ae-shin’s home. Hina reveals that she’s selling this information to Ae-shin, and Dong-mae asks if Ae-shin’s engagement is broken. He admits that he doesn’t want her engagement to be broken because he fears that she’ll be further from his reach, but Hina doesn’t grant his wishes. She presumes that the engagement was broken because Hee-sung’s expression looked gloomy, much like Dong-mae’s expression now.

Hee-sung confronts his parents, who demand to know why he intercepted the official marriage confirmation letter to Ae-shin’s family. Before answering that question, Hee-sung reveals that he’s setting up a newspaper using the money that his grandfather left him through a ledger. That’s how he’s been collecting money, and now we know why he was claiming this borrowed money in a previous episode.

Next, Hee-sung finally addresses his marriage to Ae-shin, and he asks his parents to break their engagement. His father says that this engagement was the best thing that his grandfather left him, and Hee-sung admits that among all the precious things that his grandfather left him, this is the one thing that he most desired. But this is also the reason he needs to give it up. Hee-sung’s mother doesn’t follow his logic, and Hee-sung reveals that he’s discovered the full truth of his family’s sins against Eugene. Everything that his parents have been hiding from him, he now knows.

Hee-sung’s mother reaches for her neck as she remembers that traumatizing day, and Hee-sung pleads for his mother to save him one more time. His parents cry in defeat, as Hee-sung resigns to his penance to give up what he desires most.

At the pawnshop, Hee-sung sets up his newspaper office and admires the flowers on his desk. He takes one of the flowers and places it on his sign outside as a proxy for his newspaper name until he decides one. Hee-sung updates his fellow gambling ladies at the hotel about his newspaper and encourages them to send any content that they wish to learn the truth about. Ae-soon says that she’s curious about the truth behind Hee-sung’s engagement, and she tries to discourage any progress by telling Hee-sung that Ae-shin is far from demure.

Hina interrupts the conversation and compels Ae-soon to run out by whispering to her about her husband’s early return home. She joins the game and purposely spills a drink on her frequent lady guest that Minister Lee asked her to investigate. Hina invites the lady to her room and offers her a change of clothes, but the lady isn’t interested. She’s not interested in alcohol either, and just as Hina wonders what would strike her interest, the lady fixates on the fencing sword in her room.

The lady expresses a fascination with fencing and says that there’s a charm in quickly and accurately defeating your opponent by targeting a vital point. Hina notices that the lady uses the exact words she used to describe the sport of fencing, but she plays dumb about the sport and says that she knows of only two people in Joseon who fence: the English ambassador’s brother-in-law and the French ambassador’s secretary, Leo. At the mention of the names, the lady’s demeanor turns cold and she exits the room saying that she’s not feeling well. Hina senses the lady’s jealousy and wonders what her connection to the sport is.

A court lady from the royal palace visits Grandfather’s house to summon Ae-shin to advise the royal concubine, Lady Um, on school practices. She was recommended by Hina, and Grandfather seems embarrassed that all of Hanseong knows about Ae-shin frequenting the school. He initially rejects the offer, but Aunt convinces Grandfather to allow Ae-shin to serve the royal through this rare opportunity.

As Ae-shin rides to the palace, her maid notices the sudden darkness in the middle of the day. At the palace, Minister Lee informs Gojong of the solar eclipse, and the emperor seems to associate this misfortune with Wan-ik’s infiltration into the palace. Minister Lee urges the emperor to confront their challenges with a clear mind and delivers some good news that Eugene has arrived at the palace to accept the instructor position for the Royal Military Academy.

In front of the emperor, Eugene officially accepts the position and receives a Joseon flag to commemorate his acceptance. As a side gag, we see Minister Lee instructing Eugene on the formal responses to the emperor’s commands and Eugene awkwardly repeating these phrases. Gojong asks why Eugene changed his mind about accepting the position, and Eugene candidly responds that Minister Lee proposed an offer that he couldn’t refuse.

The emperor asks what this offer was, and Eugene says that he was given a mountain. Eugene thinks back to the real offer to allow Eun-san and the Righteous Army members to live longer, but he simply tells the emperor that it was a big mountain. [The san in Eun-san is a homophone for “mountain.”] The emperor laughs at this simple solution to persuade Eugene, and Minister Lee looks at him with a sense of relief.

As Ae-shin walks through the palace with the court ladies, she crosses paths with Eugene. He introduces himself to the court lady as the newly appointed instructor of the military academy, and he promises to fulfill his role well, as he may be training potential comrades. He continues his conversation with the court lady, but everything he says is meant for Ae-shin, who is standing behind her.

Speaking indirectly to Ae-shin, Eugene admits that he was surprised by her beauty in this sudden run-in at the palace. He comments on the falling plum flower petals and wishes that he could see them for all four seasons. He says he’s glad that they ran into each other, and Ae-shin silently receives Eugene’s message. Following the oblivious court lady who is flattered by Eugene’s greeting, Ae-shin passes by with an emotional look, avoiding eye contact with Eugene. The plum flower petals fall beautifully around them, making their indirect interaction more poignant.

Hotaru reads Dong-mae’s fortune while Dong-mae watches the sun as the solar eclipse begins. Grandfather distributes his letters to Seung-gu’s men, and they readily accept his request to deliver these secret letters by hand because they have been financially supported by Grandfather for years. The men bow respectfully to Grandfather before embarking on their journey. We see Hina, Dong-mae, and Hee-sung each being reflected in the image of the eclipse, and as darkness falls under the eclipse, the Righteous Army marches onward.

 
COMMENTS

Hee-sung is finally done aimlessly wandering through these episodes — he’s found his purpose at last! I’m not sure why it took so long for us to get to this point of Hee-sung launching his newspaper, and I expect these next episodes to give us a good justification as we see his newspaper business unfold. It’s funny that I keep falling for the show’s false hope misleading me about Hee-sung’s second lead potential. Because I keep falling for the assumption that Hee-sung will fight for Ae-shin, I’m always pleasantly surprised when he poetically proves me and Ae-shin wrong. Beneath his frivolous exterior, he carries the weight of repentance, and I think Ae-shin and Eugene have come to realize his layered personality. From this, it’s interesting to see how the relationship between Hee-sung and Eugene has transformed from one fueled by revenge to one fueled by forgiveness. While Eugene still harbors an intense animosity toward Hee-sung’s family, Hee-sung’s sincerity seems to have saved him from Eugene’s wrath.

I found Ae-shin’s reasoning in refusing marriage to be illuminating, as it seems to be an issue of values and priorities than her marriage partner selection. She seems to be against the institution of marriage and the loss of freedom that a woman experiences once she is claimed to another family name. The conflict between modernity and tradition manifests in Ae-shin’s clash with her grandfather, and I’m interested to see if Grandfather’s deeper involvement in the resistance will bring them closer despite their fundamental differences in values. I admire Ae-shin’s relentless conviction to her beliefs, and though she may occasionally seem immature, her willingness to follow her passions and fierce commitment to her independence are really inspirational at times.

The whole imaginary sequence in the U.S. was a bit cheesy, but cinematically beautiful. I can appreciate an imagination running wild, especially if you have the budget and time to make it look beautiful. The only real problem I had with that sequence was the pure randomness of it. Instead of focusing on propelling the Righteous Army plot forward with the introduction of Jang Dong-yoon’s character, we were graced with the visual experience of a zebra and a studying scene with a striking resemblance to a college diversity ad. It’s moments like these that I should just resign to the visual experience and take a page out of Hee-sung’s book to appreciate how things can be so beautiful and useless.

 
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I wait to watch this show on a really high end screen at a friend’s house as this show is stunning. The eclipse scenes in the end were breathtaking and seem to portend some earth shaking events.
I’m glad I stuck with this show as now I am utterly in its thrall.

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"It’s moments like these that I should just resign to the visual experience and take a page out of Hee-sung’s book to appreciate how things can be so beautiful and useless.
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I wish I had read this before watching EP 16! I was squirming in my seat during the whole American dream sequence.

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How ironic that the writer would write a line like this: "...things can be so beautiful and useless." The dream sequence, most of the drama...does the writer realize what she just did? Did she know she was making fun of her own show?

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There’s a hashtag I use in dramas where I feel the story is not as strong as its costuming or cinematography or even how pretty the actors are. I’m sure you’ve seen it since we’ve watched similar historical dramas: #imhereforthepretty

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If I want pretty, I usually watch Chinese fantasy, where everything is pink, purple, gorgeous and clean. They can even track thru mud w/o getting dirty.

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Ooh, which actors fit your "#imhereforthe pretty"?? I really wanna know!
I usually go for the different looking kind of pretty myself.

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Well, my last #imhereforthepretty show was “The King Loves” and it won’t surprise anyone that Hong Jong-hyun was part of “the pretty” I stayed for. But that show’s costumes were spectacular as well. And the acting was actually really good too. So HJH + pretty clothes + actors I believe no matter how convoluted the plot = highly watchable.

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I thought the plot will move quickly starting from Ep 14, but I have been wrong. I hope with all the grandeur of the eclipse omen, there will be SOMETHING huge going on, leading to the climax.

I kind of admire Ae-shin in this episode despite her blatant stubbornness, because her refusal against her marriage is not because she loves Eugene, but because of her beliefs and principles in the first place. I liked that she said she's okay to be alone, not being able to be with Eugene, as opposed to being married.

And Eugene, as always, frustrates me with his character at times (I guess for the lack of writing), but lately I'm more interested with the complexity of his dual nationality and his utmost sincerity towards those he cares most.

I don't how Eugene will be seen by Americans by accepting the position in the royal military academy, though. Will the Americans be okay with that?

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I don't how Eugene will be seen by Americans by accepting the position in the royal military academy

Someone ask Kyle! Where has Kyle been ? Poetry class ? I’d have Kyle and Hina have more dialog together.

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That fantasy scene in America .... Kim Tae Ri is absolutely stunning in any and everything and that's all I have to say about this episode.

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She did look so lovely in that scene. And I did LOL at the zebra, but mostly at how cute that Ae Shin would imagine it being there.

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Man, I really hope Grandpa doesn't die... I have a feeling he might. ; _ ;

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Apparently the Go Family was quite well known in real history, if I remember correctly. Will have to go research...

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I have 30 minutes remaining of this and will be back with thoughts afterwards, but I did want to mention the violin piece playing in the vignette back in New York during Ae-shin’s daydream. It’s Dvorak’s Humoresque Op. 101 No. 7. This is the second kdrama to use this very famous theme in the last couple weeks. 30 but 17 was the other. Originally composed for piano and published in New York in the Autumn of 1894, the publisher saw how popular it was and arranged it for various instruments including violin. So, historically, it fits the time period. Grade: A. (Oh, how I miss Tim and his historical grades.)
https://youtu.be/oBDmAxSFt6A

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I thought of you when I heard it.

Also, trying to fill in for Tim (as if we could), please note the item on Hee Sung's "office" desk to the right of the flowers. I believe it's a camera of the SLR variety which would have been developed well after the time of this drama. For his work, Hee Sung would require a press camera, so Grade: F.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_camera

Unless we see this corrected later in which case, I will stand corrected and eat a flashbulb ☺️

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Guess you haven't entirely suspended your disbelief just yet. Why don't they have someone in charge of continuity or checking historical accuracy? They've spent a whole year just filming. Lee hyung byun just finished filming for goodness sake.

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Wait a minute - finding all these inaccuracies, while nit-picky, make watching the drama quite fun. Keep finding things...

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It’s like a historical inaccuracy “Where’s Waldo” game. I’m sure it would make a good drinking game too.

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I was hesitant to pay this because I wasn't sure it's be taken for what it is - just an observation of inaccuracies, again :
The Benneton picnic with the different nationalities present stands out to me as much as the zebra casually standing on the sidewalk.

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@ramonathepest you're right, at least we saw her earlier amazement at a zebra picture, but it makes no sense as to how she'd ever picture herself in, as you put it, a colors of Benetton ad in her US fantasy.

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@bbstl Correct! Show established she thought she'd see a zebra because her English lessons included the zebra ('cause what else would you show for the letter "z"?)

But the inclusion of free (as in free to do what, and go where, they want) African Americans is a nice fantasy (or misunderstanding) of the writer. lol

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It's weird, it's not like you're looking for things but that camera case just jumped out and hit me in the eye! Every once in a while something is just like that. Imagine how many things Koreans must be catching.

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Actually, I noticed the camera too but I'm easily distracted so I forgot about it two seconds later.

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I think the Righteous Army men in this episode are marching to their deaths, and I wonder if it will be the catalyst to spur on Eugene, Ae shin and Hee sung. Not to mention what apparently happens to Dong mae, when will he see the light.
There are metaphors everywhere in this drama.

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I saw the preview of Es 17 and [SPOILER] I thought the drama is 24 eps in total.

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so sorry that I should have put =spoiler alert=

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The romance between Ae Shin and Eugene just lacks chemistry that I tend to skip the parts that feature the 2 of them😅 I agree with the other beanies that the secondary characters seem more interesting (*ahem* Dong Mae *ahem) but I'm already invested in the drama to stop now, hehe! Still debating whether this will be a sad ending or not

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Really? You're debating if it has a sad ending? It's about Japan taking over Korea, chaos, the ending of Joseon, the Righteous Army having to either flee or be killed, etc.
I still say the camera is deliberately keeping Eugene and Ae shin in separate frames for a reason and that will change. It isn't a lack of chemistry.

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Sad ending if Ae Shin and Eugene will end up together😁 Who knows? Even if I'm not invested in their romance as much, still curious if they'll be together😊

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I thought they had enough frames together. When they walked together side by side, when they were on a rickshaw they were in the same frame, the boat fishing scene they were in the same frame, the hug scenes. I thought they were in the same frame quite a bit. Unless I am missing what you are saying.
He ‘longing’ phase they definitely had to keep them in separate frames.

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If I felt like it I'd go back and write down specifically what separated them even if they were in the same frame. This isn't an example for them, but cinematographers use separation techniques, like if they're sitting at a table in a restaurant and the camera is looking at the couple thru a window, the window panes might be used to show how they're separated. In a fishing boat though they're in the same frame, there might be a tree branch or even the seats in the boat might be used to separate them. There was one scene where they were in the same frame but some object - I don't remember what exactly - was in between them. I promise in the next episode to write down exactly what the cinematographer uses to keep them at a distance. I remember earlier on the one scene where Ae shin had a scene with Dong mae and their faces were only inches apart, with nothing separating them. That was such a stark contrast to her scenes with Eugene that I was startled.

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I don't know if it was you I had told before, but Youtube has a really good series called "Every Frame a Painting" that explained a lot of this to me. It's fascinating. Tom and I discussed this quite a bit when we were watching The Devil (Mawang). If you're interested in this type of thing, Tom's comments were so insightful and can be used when watching any drama. Here's the link:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2007/04/devil-mawang-wave-of-japanese-support/?nid=208468&nidwpc=3153803#ready-comment-3153803

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I totally get what you're saying but has this site ever had a sad ending ever?
Of course, she could be trying something new but I doubt it because to me the tone is exactly the same as DOTS. Happy people sometimes dealing with extreme situations that swing from traffic to light hearted humor.

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CORRECTIONS:
Has this WRITER ever had a sad ending before?
"swing from TRAGIC to light - hearted humor"
I accidently hit "send" while trying to close the ad that was in the way so it went before I proofed it.

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Was this the writer who said she'd learned her lesson about sad endings when so many fans complained? Or not...how would you even look that up?

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@linda-palapala I'm pretty sure she's not. I've seen most of her shows except 3 older ones that just don't look interesting to me. Every one I've seen has been light, leaning more toward rom-com: Secret Garden, Goblin, Descendants of the Sun

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@linda-palapala I forgot to answer your other question - with this writer, as I said, I've seen most of her works but I go to AsianWiki. com and also DramaWiki.com to see a list of shows, writers, actors, directors. I have been known to Google "Dramabeans [insert topic]". I've had lots of success doing that. And then rather than stay on the Google search results, I'll go to Dramabeans and click on a tag for the person/show and usually it's not THAT much once you eliminate the recaps and read only the news articles.

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AeShin’s first few English words included learning about ‘sad ending’.
There is no doubt about it.
What each of us consider ‘sad’ is debatable :))

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There'd better be a sad ending or I'm going to be so mad. 😬

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What lack of chemistry?

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The chemistry between Eugene and AS - some say there is plenty, some say none - is a popular topic in this thread. *beams and waves* Hi, dee. 😁

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This whole thing is just bizarre.

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And some are totally indifferent to the romance because they want action :))

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Hi @yyishere my fellow ajincome oppa fans. Well I never watch any KES drama before because she tend to chose actors/actresses based on their popularity.
Maybe because of LBH controversy and people against him become lead which attracts me more and like some people said, he's that good. For KTR, I knew she's something else so I have no doubt with her.
I'm not into romantic kind of drama so their subtle romantic moments are enough for me, and imo I don't find any lack of chemistry, maybe not that much of chemistry but not lack at all how to say it.

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Re: Ae-shin's imaginary scene in the U.S. I love the costuming in this show. From the traditional Joseon clothing, to the Western styles, to even the marine uniform. If I hated this show (and I don't) I do believe I would turn the sound down and just ooh and ahh at what everyone is wearing.

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And (trying to follow the "no spoiler" rule, when my husband and I watched the trailer at the end foreshadowing next week's episode he said, "oh no! Not _____!"

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Watched the whole episode like a stone, only to have my heart plummet to the depths watching that preview.

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I'm not sure what you're talking about. What exactly made your heart plummet?

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Can't tell you. That would be a spoiler. But go back--and if you didn't watch until the very end, do so. (And see if you don't let out a little gasp, "no!")

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If you're talking about what I think you're talking about then there are two possibilities.
1)XXXXXXXXXXXX or
2)XXXXXXXXXXXX

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If I think you are talking about what you think I'm talking about, you can be sure we'll be talking about what I think you think I'm talking about a week from now.

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@yyishere Ya know, I'll participate in next week's recap just to hear your snarkily clever comments...
But don't worry, all is (probably) not lost. My concern is the introduction of the new guy and what that might mean for certain "tragic" characters.

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Yeah, but what made your heart plummet may not make mine plummet...however, when I get a chance I'll look at the preview once again.

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yes me too. pl pl subvert our expectations. i dont want the inevitable to happen😣

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Did he say "oh no, not the Gone With the Wind shot!?" Oh wait, that wasn't in the previews, that was the eclipse at the end, sorry. 😉

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Shades of Scarlet Heart in the eclipse. For a moment there, I was expecting Eugene to be teleported back to Goryeo and re-emerge as Hae Su in the pool. Wouldn't he make a lovely Hae Su...imagine him with loose ungelled long hair, and a tight, shy smile.

I didn't feel a thing for AS and Eugene, sat there, unmoved, while she was crying her eyes out.

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The thing is . . . I don't believe her. I don't believe that she's passionately in love, or so passionately dedicated to a cause that she doesn't love him enough to want to marry him. I know this will sound really harsh, but she seems more like a robot that they've been winding up all these years to go out and shoot, kind of like a Manchurian Candidate. She doesn't really seem to have known much about why she did anything, or did I miss it? Or maybe it's only because she's the same person she was in episode One and hasn't changed except that she met Eugene and she sneaks out a lot more. So after all this time I realize that I don't feel for them, either.

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It is precisely this absence of character development that is keeping me from truly enjoying the Show. Even as the plot moves forward, the characters remain stationary.

And like you say, I sit there unmoved through all of this supposed romance. I may have fastforwarded through the horse ride & beach date.

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It's like the characters are caricatures. This is why I have a love/hate relationship with this drama and seem to agree with whatever opinion someone argues, whether positive or negative.
Except for Dong mae, he's the most exaggerated caricature of all.

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She doesn't move me, I can't connect with her, I don't feel anything for their love. It's just flat, and boring.

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I can't recall she really did much of anything. We've been told she's awesome but I don't remember any awesomeness really.

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Well, she went totally outside her noblewoman's conscripted role in learning to be a perfect shot (except for that time she missed Dong Mae), she snuck newspapers in order to be aware of current events and she killed a couple of people.

Just playing Devil's Advocate.

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The kind of response I was hoping for...
Who did she kill again?
Yeah, sneaking newspapers is so special. The kind of thing I would have done to feel rebellious.
I've also shot chickens with a bb gun.

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😒 and in the vast world of Chicken Cinema, there is a drama in which you are awesome, @linda-palapala.

*cat standing in for Chicken 🙀*

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I really don't remember who she killed. I do remember she and Eugene argued over who killed the American in the beginning episode. But who was the other guy?
You know what's so great about this drama? It's so much fun to make fun of it.

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@linda-palapala ROTFLMAO! Even though I disagree with you, 😂

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@bbstl I'm serious - I don't remember who was the 2nd guy she supposedly killed. Refresh my memory?

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@linda-palapala sorry, sorry! I thought she killed someone at the port, and/or they referred to her having killed someone before the American guy was double-assassinated by her and Eugene. No? If someone told me she killed three people or more, I'd accept that. I'm not checking 😏

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Sneaking newspapers - while it seems like nothing to us, there was a time, even in the west in medieval times that would be considered very rebellious. I don't remember her shooting and missing Dong mae. I think she fired a warning shot at him, if I recall correctly.

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Oh you do? Why would she do that? I really thought she missed him.

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http://www.dramabeans.com/members/bbstl/ I don't know how I got this thing to flag you before because putting in @bbstl isn't working this time. But anyway, if you see this :
I'm referring to her shooting the phone as a warning shot 'cause I didn't realize she hit the phone. I thought her shot just kept him from getting to it. That's why I need sites like this to get what I missed.
As to why she didn't just shoot Dong mae - I still say Dong mae has this weird foreplay going on with Hinna and Ae Shin that involves guns and slaps and deep down Ae shin is also enjoying it. And if she'd killed Dong mae, the half of viewers that think the show's too slow and are only watching for Dong mae's shenanigans would bail.

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Now that you mention it, I actually think there was a warning shot to Dong Mae, maybe just as he started running for the telephone, or slightly before. Personally, I think Ae-Shin is reluctant to kill Dong Mae, just as he is to kill her.

And if you think about the times she's threatened him, I mean, how many times has she pulled a gun on Eugene?

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heyyyyy @ramonathepest I didn't see your comment until now because of Blue's comment. I lose a lot of replies, I don't know if it's because I only check the 10 that are highlighted? Anyway, I thought her shot shorted out the phone but she may have fired a warning shot at DM as well! It feels like a year ago. Your remarks about DM's special foreplay cracked me up, and I know you are right that no way they could have killed him off that early.

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@bbstl - I noticed that the number over the alert bell can say I have 10 likes/replies, but once I check a couple of them, the rest just vanish! But I do have this set up so that I receive an email everytime someone likes or replies so that helps but it also means my already over crowded email is swamped.

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@bbstl I think I remember (diagnosed with short term memory issues so...) that she shot to keep Dong mae away from going to a phone or telegraph office to warn somebody about the rebels?

And I do think I recall Ae shin killing a couple of people during one of the operations/shootouts but because it was a shootout on both sides, it wasn't a character we can point at and say she shot so and so. Now, because of my memory issues, I won't know if I'm remembering correctly unless somebody responds to tell me or whenever I get around to rewatching this series. It's so slow that I think it'll be a very long while before I rewatch it.

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Well, at any rate, she's been running around with a gun and trying to kill people, that counts for quite a lot 😆 *would say the Devil's Advocate*.

She definitely shot out the telephone that Dong Mae ran to use, which was at very long range and inside a building (I believe she shot it through a window?) I guess that made me think, why not just shoot him, too,while you're shooting?

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Ae shin is in love with a thought of being in love with someone and someone happened to be Eugene because he fits the bill for a hero of many romance novels. Her grandpa is a well known scholar of Confucianism so she must have been forced to read all those boring books enough to memorize them. Meanwhile she became so bored with her studies, she must have devoured her self reading many romance books wrapped under some scholarly books. You see what happens when a girl is forced to study a boring subject!?😉

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She is in love with love. * beams wisely*

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Even her "role" in saving Joseon is her falling in love with a romantic ideal.

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Ep 15 and 16 are the episodes which solidifies my love for this drama. I rewatched my favourite scenes multiple times. The scene where Eugene faces her grandfather has got to be my favourite one, and when he sweeps Ae-shin’s foot and Ae-shin’s lips tremble..i kinda cried a little. I prayed for their ending to be together but it will not be an easy journey.

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Ae-Shin's quivering lips, and Eugene's forced smile. I can't. I just can't.

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Hi, dee! 😁

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That scene where Ae-shin gets her shoe put back on her foot and she starts to cry...I've noticed a lot of references to shoes throughout the series; usually when someone dies...is this a cultural thing?

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There are two meanings I can think of for shoes. The first I've seen in a lot of dramas is that, when people commit suicide, they take off their shoes first. Not sure why. Are they "crossing a threshold" into the afterlife?

The second is a superstition that if you give shoes to a loved one, they'll use those shoes to walk away from you (leave you).

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Ponderous is the word that always comes to mind while watching this show.....

But then comes along an occasional great line:

On the vase weapon: "It is a cheap one"

HS to DM - "Can you slice a flower petal exactly in half?"
DM - "I could cut you in half. Do you want horizontally or vertically?"
HS to E - "Can you shoot a flower petal?"
E - "Before or after DM slices it in half?"

E(grumble): "Why is everyone studying so hard?"

E: "That gun only has 5 bullets"
AS: "I only need 2" .... and was true to her word

And last but not least.....
- Hilarious use of "Walk softly and carry a big stick"

LOL!

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Every shot is gorgeous. I know I’m a broken record. I really enjoyed Hina and her styling this episode. I love how clever, shrewd. and conniving she is. The Apple really doesn’t fall from the tree in this case, because I’m shyer she gets this from her father; as much as she wants to be as far away from him as she can, one can’t deny that she knows how to manipulate people into getting the information she wants and desperately needs. I’m worried that the head minister is just stringing her along about her mother though. She’s leading the story in my opinion.

Hee-Sung was just heart breaking when he confronted his parents about the marriage annulment. Byung Yo-Han is killing this role. He’s just perfect. I totally believe him as the irreverent, cheeky devil that he is, with a huge sensitive heart. He’s really been my favorite actor/character these past few episodes. Him falling on his proverbial sword so that Ae-shin can be with Eugene was also so affecting for me, kneeling with her and begging her to trust him. Ae-shin should just be with him! There, I said it. It won’t happen, but it’s good to give into the SLS.

And our third lead. Be with the tarot reader already! Make a gorgeous baby before you die for Ae-shin. Speaking of Hotaru, that model-turned-actress playing her is stunning, and she only acts with her face and she’s a scene stealer. But I now know why models can make good actors; they act with their eyes and faces in every photo shoot, so it translates well on camera. And they’re stunning to look at as well.

So, I did like the more modern daydream sequence, and those two were more believable as a couple in New York than at any other time in this drama. Ae-shin looks older and Eugene looks younger and that why it worked for me. I think her being in a hanbok and him being in a Captain’s uniform really makes them look mismatched and maybe that’s why I can’t jump the wide chasm that is their love affair. That and the fact Eugene looks so severe when he’s melancholy. There’s no glint in his eye, no longing look, nothing that I can see makes me think he really cares for her. He just looks severe. I just want a softer Eugene. Maybe a different actor could have pulled it off for me. I don’t know.

I still think Kim Tae-ri is great in this. Her scenes with BYH have been my favorites so far. Except for the one with YYS touching her dress, and with KMJ kicking ass both times. I really think it’s LBH that brings her down these last two episodes. Her scenes with him just fall a little flat and since theirs is the central love story, she had to share a lot of screentime with him.

Okay, the last like 10 shots were to-die-for, but I’m sure the sun and moon can’t be that big over Joseon, right? And I was also taught to never look directly at the sun during an eclipse. I wonder if solar eclipse glasses would have been more historically accurate? Anyone want to look this up?

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*And in a stunning turn of events, in the next episode half of Joseon goes blind after looking straight at the eclipse and only the low servants who were inside working are left to run the country because they can still see.

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Which is actually how Japan came to imperialize Korea, as they did wear their eclipse sunglasses and easily overtook the servant class. (Since it seems like we’re rewriting history anyway.) Apologies for anyone deeply offended by this remark—@bbstl started it. 🌝🌔🌓🌒🌑😎

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You've started a fanfic, so just go for it!

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Japan being technologically superior on account of having been forced to open up to the West a hundred years earlier (actually true in *real* history) 😬
🚋 Here's a picture of the tram that @ally-le threw me under 😝

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🤣🤣🤣

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There's one more character that you forgot - the horse. He was in the stable nibbling on some hay, so he missed the eclipse.

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He would have been too smart to stare at an eclipse, anyway. He has more sense than, say, a future President.

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I miss that horse. I haven't seen him for eons. And now they bring in a new character? So unfair to that poor horse.

#I'mAHorseButIHaveFeelingsToo
#SadEndingForAForgottenHorse

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@yyishere waaaat? He was just in 16, in the scene after AS jumped over her wall, even if it was just his backside. Or do I have the wrong horse?
#CrushedHorseThoughtHeWasABiggerStar

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How could you?! He was the means of transportation for our OTP to go to the sea. Without Horsey, they wouldn't have been able to ride all that way, and carry that kettle to brew coffee in. He brought them back safely, too. He appeared in the wall gazing scene after Eugene visits Gramps for the first time. Without Horsey, Eugene wouldn't have been able to gaze so mournfully into Ae Shin's eyes. He would have had to climb that wall himself, and could have slipped and broke his head. Horsey is the catalyst for the um, romance between the OTP. Someone give him a medal already!

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Ummmm, @yyishere, are you talking about the horse AS rode to the beach? I wonder if Eugene stole him from Kyle, is he really Kyle's horse and he's off having adventures in English that we don't know about? 🤔 Eugene's horse, trustworthy soul, was left alone to reflect on the view while the humans did their shoe-and-tears thing. He (or, I think, she) may indeed have a medal in her future once she meets her destiny at the Korean Military Academy.
I admit to some confusion because my kdrama-watching friends and I have had a nickname for LBH since forever based on his long face and distinctive toothy smile, and that name is Horsey.

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I have been wondering these past few episodes whether there would have been more chemistry if either of the other two guys had been cast in the lead. There's so much chemistry between her and DM, and between her and HS.

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I was thinking Kim Ji-suk but sure, we’ll go with your premise. The fact is that I can imagine almost anyone else between the ages of 35-40 in this role. Kim Ji-suk has amazing English speaking skills as he went to school in England in middle and high school. And he’s got that softer look which I think would have complemented Kim Tae-ri better as well.

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I loved what I saw of him in REBEL and think he could have pulled off a more compelling Eugene. He acts really well with his eyes too. I know I start losing interest in a drama when I start making casting changes and rewriting it. 😢

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I'm not sure. I do think that Eugene is written to be a very buttoned-up, contained and rigid military guy who, as a man who doesn't fully fit in anywhere, is excessively careful to play by all the rules everywhere. Any actor would have to convey that and it really quashes what can be done with the role, I think.

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The story I really want to see is a prequel. The story of how Dong-Mae, Hotaru, and Hina went from their beginnings to their lives when Mr. Sunshine begins.

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As many episodes as this drama is, ya' think they coulda included that. Or maybe more backstory is coming up.

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I like Ae Shin. It's not easy for a person to change her state of mind when all her/his life they were told to not ask question, to do their duty, to not be interested in things like politics, etc. Even now, with all internet, TV, radio, we can see some women who just follow men's orders. We had the chance to grow up in a world with more freedom and even if the egality is not always perfect, we learnt to ask questions and to think for ourselfes.

We can see that Ae Shin is trying but it's not easy. She want to protect her country but in the same time she's realizing that her country is not perfect.

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It's episode 16, which is typically the last episode of a normal drama. And up till now, I'm still not sure where this show is going. What's the plotline again? Is this a show about revenge or romance or what? The only thing I look forward to now is our '3 stooges' together. Even then, those scenes feel like fillers for entertainment purpose. It does nothing to the plot, or lack thereof. Other than that, everything else is just...pretty.

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I don't know if it's because I'm Korean, but all my affection for AS pretty much died this week. As much as I want to cheer for her, I just found her a spoiled brat given the time period and all. For me, the story switched into fantasy right when her grandfather let her train in the mountains. Honestly I forget what her rationale was when she told her grandfather that she wanted to break off the marriage, but when I heard it, I remember that it fell very flat for me. Like considering the time period and her background, she's lucky that she found a relatively loving home (cousin aside), and is getting paired up with a man that's totally fine with her secret activities. Not that I'd want this to happen, but I can't believe she wasn't whipped and that her servants weren't killed, or something along those lines.

I could never imagine doing something that would bring so much shame onto my family, and it seems like AS has a much better relationship with hers than I do (please don't ask me for details haha). Like, her grandfather let her have so much freedom and even let her attend the school. She doesn't seem to understand that her decision to live alone is going to massively affect not only her, but the family that was so indulgent with her. Also, she's always lived in the height of luxury, so I'm not really buying that she gets how hard it would get. Child DM's words to her really rang with me these episodes, and I only wish she'd really understand how spoiled and sheltered she was. I can't really come up with a modern day equivalent, but AS this episode really reminded me of this girl I knew in high school who wanted to run off with a boyfriend her parents disapproved of, all the while being dramatic about how hard it was going to be, but "their love would conquer all".

I'd understand AS better if HS was an awful abusive human being, but I think that he's realistically the best option for her so far. Also not to sound like an old fart, but AS and Eugene seem more first crush rather than actual love, more so fueled by the adrenaline from all the high stakes situations. Realistically, I don't think it would last in real life, especially since AS doesn't seem capable of sacrifice and compromise.

I'm not really feeling the chemistry between AS and Eugene (I actually feel way more between him and HN), and in my opinion it's not the camera work. I've felt chemistry between characters in other works with a similar hindrance. It could be because I find LBH very dry and one note in his acting, and it makes me pretty sad to say that. I get that he's got his fans though. I'm just personally not feeling it.

Whew, that was a long rant haha. Congrats if you read it through!

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I enjoy reading your thought. She is truly a brat,,, the only crime her grandpa committed is that he has given her too much freedom.
She should live in the States with Eugene without her family and her servants then she would finally realize the reality of her romance. Even then she would not admit how spoiled she was, I guess.

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I really want to love AS as a character, as a whole and not just her badass-ness. But it's hard when I can't share her arguments on her decisions, for most of it, given her position in the society. What does she want actually? To love but not to marry, to love and to fight but not to marry? To fight and be free and be in love and not to marry? Ok, I am getting a headache. Maybe I have lost much of my romantic sense. Or perhaps I am unnecessarily being over realistic towards a fiction.

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I was trying to understand what was her reasoning with GranpaGO. I really wanted to understand her as a woman. If she wants to grow old and live alone, how will she do it. Can she be like Hina. She cares so much about being a noble so how can she live and keep up with the noble requirements.
So what happens when grandpa dies and there are no men in the family? Was that ok in those times?

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All I can think of is that she really believes deep down that she will be killed sooner rather than later didn't she say something like that earlier?

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She did say she expected to die young

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Thanks for your thoughts.
That one scene where Hee-Sung longingly asked her to catch him when he falls had so much more feelings than all the Eugene/AeShin scenes. And when he eventually lies on her lap and the way she holds him was so much more relatable.

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IF she is to live at the end of the drama, I can see her married to Hee-sung--both of them sadly knowing that her first love (kind of) was Eugene--who will die in a blaze of glory, protecting Domi, his sister, a member of the righteous army, or a character to be introduced in between now and then.

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I’m glad you laid out all the reasons why I thought Aeshin is so rude and arrogant in front of her grandfather!

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Thank you for this recap @dramallama- it always helps and I find out how I missed some things in translation.
I'm enjoying this show and look forward to it every weekend. Maybe it helps that I'm not looking for mistakes in the props they use or historical accuracy - but I did do some research on Korean/Japanese relations around that time and it helps to know a little about what is coming.
I love the three men when they get together and how their relationship has evolved into a sort of a frenemy/friendship. They are already supporting each other. Overall they are all just human beings and seem to understand each other without trying to - or maybe even wanting to. Either way, I like this part of the story.
Ae-shin and Hina represent (to me at least) the stories of women at that time.
Hina has already been sold off and now as a widow, is working to control her own fate as a human being. She will be controlled by no one else - especially a man.
Ae-shin to me is a woman who has everything - but the freedom to make her own choice in how she lives her life. That was the life of women at the turn of the century. From the beginning, we saw her as someone who was interested in things outside the walls of the compound. Meeting Eugene and coming to love him has only increased her desire for more control over her life.
I think her refusing to marry doesn't have as much to do with Eugene as it does wanting a say in how she will live her life. I keep reading how she is immature and selfish and spoiled - but remember it was women like her who stepped out of her comfort zone and worked hard so that women now have the choice to do what they want. Vote, marry or not marry, stay-at-home moms or not, you name it, women like Ae-shin who wanted their own voice, were the beginning of women's emancipation. Especially in Asian countries where women had even less say in their lives.

To me, Ae-shin was brave and strong when she stood up to her grandfather, knowing that she may end up alone - at least she gets to fight for her country.

But I did worry for all their eyes when everyone was looking at the sun without solar glasses. sigh....

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I would have really appreciated if she was against marriage and fighting for her right to fight for the country and not be confined to a role of a ‘noble woman’.
But the show has not convinced me that this is what she is fighting for.
- she still wants to use her noble woman status and has shown no signs of giving it up.
- why bring up Her love for another man to break a marriage. Why put Eugene through this if she has no intention of marrying him? She could have fought for her right to be unmarried without dragging him into this mess right?

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I think in those days it was probably the only way she COULD refuse to be married off into an arranged marriage. Think of it, she couldn't say she wanted to fight for her country - the old school grandfather would not have let her get away with it. But to be in love with someone else... well that makes sense.
And she does love Eugene - but unfortunately, that will not go anywhere and she knows it. So her choice is to be alone and I see that as a brave choice given the time and circumstances.
Sorry but I just don't see her as a spoiled noblewoman. I think she is very aware of the responsibilities AND chains that come with it.

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Please don’t be sorry. I always like to hear other perceptions and that’s why am here!
For the records, I never called her ‘spoiled’,l - my accusations are around protected upbringing and lack of judgement.

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Okay, I have more thoughts, and I really want to establish that I'm not trying to bash anyone!!

I appreciate your thoughts, but in my opinion just because AS's female and is going after something she wants doesn't make her a feminist. Like, I wouldn't consider the girl I knew in high school (in my above rant, the one who wanted to drop out of high school and run off with her boyfriend) a feminist. I have great respect for the early feminists who made it possible for women to enjoy much more freedom, but I honestly can't see this as the same thing. Early feminists made it extremely clear as to what they were fighting for, and AS hasn't. If she had, I'd be much more supportive of her actions. But the show hasn't even hinted that she's thinking of other women and their freedom.

AS also hasn't been shown to be that aware of reality. Like, her teacher had to remind her that he could be killed for their relationship, ten years after they started shooting together. And based off of her reaction to Eugene's origin, she never seems to have really considered that the Joseon she's trying to save is absolute hell for so many people.

I actually think that her wanting to fight for her country would have been a better argument than love, especially in this time period. Also, I can't see her grandfather as old school. This man is far more liberal than any Korean grandfather I can even think of. I do not know any modern day Korean grandfather that would be okay with their granddaughters illegally risking their lives to the extent that AS has.

It's also been made abundantly clear that her grandfather doesn't want her to marry for his own personal gain. He's not in this for money, a title, or whatever. He just wants to keep her safe in an incredibly brutal period that's only going to get more hellish, something I think he really understands based on his political movements.

It's been said and shown that AS has been kept in the dark about a lot of the political reality, and it really shows. Choosing to be alone as a woman (and cut off from financial support) isn't brave to me. It just seems like an incredibly unwise decision, especially based off of what we know is coming. HN seems savvy and independently wealthy enough to make it, but AS relies entirely on her family for wealth and she's still pretty naive in some ways.

Also, her grandfather didn't have to arrange a marriage for her. He didn't have to do anything. Cause:

1. AS is a girl in a very sexist time and place.
2. She's technically of illegitimate birth.
3. She's an orphan.

As someone who used to volunteer at an orphanage in Korea, the situation for orphans in the modern day is incredibly bleak. It's very difficult to get married because family background is so so SO important. Government support is extremely sparse, and there are almost no chances of getting a good job. Even today it's very common for Korean orphans to kill themselves, and this...

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(lol I didn't know comments got cut off. I'll try to retype everything)

...is the best time period it's ever been for them. It's also really hard to get married if you're of illegitimate birth, and it's also still very shameful if you're an unmarried woman.

So if that's what it's like today in 2018, you can try to imagine how much worse it is in the early 1900s.

If her grandfather hadn't taken her in, no one in power would've really batted an eye, and she likely would've ended up like Guidan or Sumi (forget her name- Domi's sis) who had to work like animals or turn to prostitution.

It can be difficult to understand if one isn't Korean or isn't familiar with the culture, but I think when watching historical dramas, context is pretty important~ :)

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@poppet - wow! well thought out and well written. The things you are pointing out are all good points.
The problem for me is that I just like this show okay? I don't want to read everyone bashing how horrible it is and lack of character development etc., when I'm just enjoying everything about it (okay, with the exception of those long camera shots of them looking into each other's eyes) and I don't want to feel like I need to analyze everything.
I still think she is brave to go against her grandfather - but you are right that what she is doing is for herself and not as a feminist. Good point. Also that her grandfather wants to protect her - but all the men in this show want to protect her and I see her as a person who wants to be independent and make her own decisions - wrong or right.
I may have to stop reading the comments after the recaps so that I don't feel like a terribly shallow person who is just enjoying this show for what it is - a drama - a FICTIONAL drama.
My first tendency is to stand up for someone who is being bashed - like rooting for the losing team - so that is why I'm defending her.
But your points about her illegitimacy and family lines are very good and something I don't know about.
Thank you for that! I'm still going to enjoy all the pretty and try to not feel less that I'm enjoying this show when others find it so lacking.

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I enjoy everyone's comments, both pro and con, especially if there's any controversy. Very interesting reading, very insightful comments.

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@poppet Thank you so much for providing great insights of the korean culture on the aspects discussed. Even without this new knowledge I disagree a bit on the argument on AS and inspiring feminism. Thank you for making it clearer. @stpauligurl it is always great to read different perspectives on a drama. Don't feel shallow for enjoying the fiction for the entertainment. I did it as well when I just need some stress release. ;)

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@stpauligurl whew thank goodness, sometimes I accidentally come off as way too intense online!!! And it's perfectly fine to enjoy the drama without wanting to analyze!

Also if AS was an actual person, I'd be a lot less harsh on her xD I think it's because she's fictional that I feel like I can analyze her like this online

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@poppet, so great that you're here! Thanks for taking the time to give us so much background that we'd never get otherwise, it's really helpful. Please don't hold back, Beanies are sponges for knowledge 😁

@stpauligurl sorry this is an episode where the AS antis are gaining strength and a lot of us are starting to have a better time poking fun at the show than liking it. I know that can be painful when you really like what a show is doing and there's a big contingent of Beanies who just don't seem to get it. Thanks for not asking "Why don't you just quit watching, then?" I know I will watch to the end because it's a KES extravaganza and there are characters I like and I have to know how it's all going to end up. And there's always a chance I may finally connect with it all the way 🤞🏽

A Beanie lives in hope.

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"responsibilities AND chains that come with it."

St. PauliGurl I love that phrase. It reminded me of when I first started Jane Austen and it just drove me crazy. I was like, "Blow them off! Tell them to take a hike! Just strike out on your own!" Then it finally came to me after many years that all these stories (Jane Austen) were about women, in fact people, who were constrained by the society in which they lived. In fact in many ways not even in control of their own fate. As a guy who came of age in the '70s, that blew my head off, but finally I could relate. Then I found real beauty in those stories.

In many ways, Ae Shin is in chains. In fact, the power of women at that time was lower than even the untouchables. Even a Chosun noblewoman really was only one of three things, a servant to her father (like Aunt Cho), a servant to her husband (like Ae Shun), or a servant to her oldest son. There were no property rights, no rights to even own a business, nothing. Even Ae Shun, who calls Ae Shin a wench repeatedly, is called a wench by her own husband. It seems like the only one who wouldn't be called a wench is Hina, who would stab them through the heart with her rapier-like ... rapier. Or she'd shoot them with her .38 . :-)

Ae Shin is not holding on to her title as a spoiled brat. She is holding on to it as a shield. Even Eugene told her tactically it's better. It protects her, from reprisals, and allows her to protect Gunner Jang, for example, and Hanam and Haengren, and others. It's not absolute, and it won't last forever, but it's something and that's better than nothing.

I think that Ae Shin is showing growth. She is walking more instead of riding in the palanquin all day. She's trying new things. She's talking with more people, like Su-Mi and Do-Mi, and even her friend from the school, who feels comfortable enough with her to give her some zingers. That's not the relationship with a "noble woman." These changes are very small, and even her opposition to her grandfather is a huge step in her growth. She has voiced many times that she would leave the family if she must. That she would get herself cast out, live with scorn, make her way to Shanghai or America to try to find a life for herself. These aren't empty threats. These are parts of her desire to be free. And a big part of that is her desire to be free to be with Eugene. She's still limited by her upbringing, by what she's been taught, by what she's grown up with people expecting from her, but even that fantasy she had, about going to America, being free, learning everything she can, that's part of her desire to be free of those chains, even though she can only take little steps to achieve it.

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Thank you @bluetrix - you wrote what I was thinking much more eloquently than I was able to.
I have always like Ae-shin's character and appreciated the fact that she has constantly been pushing at that wall that keeps her in. For some reason I hadn't noticed that she wasn't riding in the palaquin anymore - I saw them as her walking outside now and then. But now I see her as giving that up.
It will be interesting to see what the writer does with her character at the end of the story.
I looked up Korea/Japan history during these years, and it doesn't end well for Korea.
Growing up is hard, isn't it?

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I rewatch this episode.
Observed all the nuances in the acting.
The cinematography just just ......

Most times the subtleties took me aback. How they come out with the scenario just blows my mind.
Totally amazed.
Writernim and director, for a drama you both I salute.

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The best scene was the pan out with Ae-shin crying after her dream sequence in New York. It was filmed beautifully

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As always, DM, Hina and HS steak the show. I’m glad that Hee Sung finally has some direction and purpos and I can’t wait until we see how that plays out.

Each week I think “finally we will start getting to the action!” Then it falls flat. I have to turn my brain off and watch. I haven’t touched the FF button yet, but I feel it’s close.

I must say, the last scene with the eclipse was wonderfully shot and ominous at the same time. I worry that this will be the last we see of Seung Gu and his comrads. Them marching off in the darkness I could feel them all being shot to death in the dark, along with Nobleman Go. I really hope I’m wrong and we will see some plot movement.

I am completely over AS and Eugene. No chemistry and they feel like uncle and niece to me. I feel nothing for them. I do have to commend AS that her reasoning for breaking the engagement is for her and not so she can be with Eugene. I don’t see them getting together or staying together.

I’m echoing @ally-le and at this point #imhereforthepretty.

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Steal the show* not steak. What I wouldn’t do for an edit button.

Also. The preview! 😬😬😬 I don’t know if my heart can handle next week. (But at least we may get some action?)

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In Defense of Ae Sin (lol)
I don't usually write a comment but I thought I should since I saw some persons expressing their dislike of Ae sin's character since they view her as spoiled and entitled. While you guys have every right to have your own opinion and to express it, I just thought I would throw in my own little two cents.
I think that if Ae Sin is entitled and spoiled it is mostly because of the liberties afforded to her by her guardians. As she said to her Grandfather - what did you think would be the result of allowing her to roam the mountains with a gunsman and to learn the craft herself, or allowing her to read the books of the enlighten scholars instead of staying indoors and learning to embroider and other traits that would serve her as a nobleman's wife. You showed her the freedoms that men experience and expected her to contented the gilded cage of a nobleman's wife? Why was Ae Sin attracted to Eugene (as boring as I think he is)? Isn't it partly because she was able to interact with him in a completely different way than most men in Joseon, from the very beginning the rules of engagement did not apply to him since he was a foreigner and likewise he did not expect her to act a certain way because she was a woman. Ae Sin may seem spoiled but she it caught between being as respectful her granddad as she can be (I mean she hasnt run off with him!) and resisting a Joseon marriage and the restraints it would place on her freedom... also regardless of if her fiancee is not so bad... when you've found a man you can identify with in spirit and character why would you want to live your life with 'not so bad' instead. I don't think she'll end up getting what she wants but I do admire her fighting spirit.

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Amen!!! thank you for expressing my thoughts when I couldn't!

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Very nicely stated.

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That's definitely not a fighting spirit but a bratty spirit. Yes, her grandfather might have given her enough freedom to experience things but that doesn't excuse her not seeing the reality of life. There have been so many things that I expect from her. I dislike characters who have a one tracked mind. I expected growth when Eugene opened upto her, I expected more growth when she remembered young dongmae word concerning her privilege. I expected growth when she talked to seung gu and lastly I expected more deep insight from her when she heard the full story about her birth but heck all she could think of is her feelings for Eugene. I am not saying she's not entitled to those feelings, it's her right but it doesn't excuse her lack of insight concerning things or how real life really works. She might have been taught how to fire a gun but she never allowed herself to see beyond her noble status.

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I think whatever culture we've been raised in colors our perceptions of females and their role in society, whether past or present.

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Well said. Very well said.

I also think the issue of culture and society is a very large part of this story.

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Indeed. This is true.

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Soteria, I can completely see where you're coming from about your expectations. But in my experience, people's growth tends to come in response to other people. Either friends who force them to look at the world in a different way, or books that clearly identify with their thoughts, then show them a different way to be. Even times of great social upheaval are times filled with people. A friend whose brother was shot, another whose sister turned out to be gay, a person from another country who is not what you'd think he is.

I really believe that people change as they see different possibilities, as they are pulled in different directions by those they care for, like that. And they also change bit by bit. I don't really believe in the great epiphany, I believe that change in a person's heart and in their perspective happens like their journey through life. It happens step by step.

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Thank you, @bluetrix this has been my experience. You've captured this truth beautifully!

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This is a drama and we are here for character growth and all. Am not talking in the context of cultural analysis here because believe me I don't know which culture downplay women's role more, Africa or Asia and even western world. And this is coming from an african. So my analysis concerning ae shin is how she's being written and the writers intention. My opinion is not from a cultural perspective.

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Soteria, I bow before your perspective and your experience.

As a Westerner and South American, I too am saddened and many times sickened by the treatment of women, worldwide. Even the things I've personally seen in my life have moved me to such despair sometimes. But at my age, when I get to thinking of these things, my daughter tells me, Dad, there's nothing you can do about it.

But she's also convinced me to 'stay in my lane.' That no matter how much I've observed in my long life, that I don't know everything about people, that I don't know their lives, I don't know their perspectives, I don't know their thoughts, I don't know the way they see the world.

Even my own wife who I was married to for over thirty years. I realized there were many things about her perspective I didn't understand at all, and there were many things I did, and many pieces of advice I gave, that drove her crazy.

All of this to say that your experience and your view is your own, and completely worthy of respect. I had no intention to disrespect anything you said, and if I did I am sorry.

I too have seen a lot of brattiness and entitlement from Ae Sin. Her threatening of Eugene's life in the very beginning (no one would dare, but I'll let you live), her obliviousness to the girl at the school (how old are you now?) were examples right from the beginning. With the exception perhaps of Gunner Jang, I never heard her say please or thank you to anyone. Early on, the only other one she said that to was Eugene, But she actually did say it to Hina, asking for her help instead of demanding it. Explaining herself, that she was worried for her grandfather.

I thought that was a change for her. Not a big one, but a small one. Which goes back to my feeling about small steps. It's also what fuels my hope for her and Dong Mae, that her animosity to him will soften, and that in the end she'll accept his friendship, even though it's offered to her with a bloody hand.

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If I were AS, I wouldn't be as brave as her, I just accept the marriage yet maybe I'll run to warehouse crying and playing EC music box everyday like soapy drama. Just saying.

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Very well said. I do not agree that she’s entitled and spoiled. One thing for sure, she is the ONLY noble woman in the drama currently who has earned my respect.

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