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Mr. Sunshine: Episode 17

Ae-shin counts her blessings, as she finally realizes that she’s been protected by unsolicited guardians who admire her more than she can imagine. Dong-mae and Hee-sung make some immense sacrifices for Ae-shin, while she remains sheltered by her nobility, their admiration, and the Eugene’s power as an American soldier. But her protective guards are gradually being depleted, and she’ll soon need to utilize her training to fight for herself.

 
EPISODE 17 RECAP

The solar eclipse commences, and the Righteous Army run through the hills to deliver Grandfather’s letters to his fellow noblemen. At the palace, Ae-shin meets with the royal concubine, Lady Um, to share her knowledge from the language school. Lady Um asks how Ae-shin first found interest in the language school, and Ae-shin admits that she wanted to read a foreigner’s name, which she can now read and even write. She says that she also wanted to learn the opposite phrase to “sad ending,” but she hasn’t found the answer, since all endings are sad in some way.

Ae-shin also shares that her perspective that all written languages seem to carry a consistent spirit and meaning, but the mathematic and scientific rules seem new and exciting to her. Lady Um praises Ae-shin’s intelligence and expresses reassurance in her plans to build a girls’ school. She tells Ae-shin that Hina — who referred her to Lady Um — is waiting for her at their rendezvous location, and Ae-shin respectfully bows before heading to the bakery.

At the bakery, Ae-shin tells Hina that her summoning to the palace felt indiscreet and ostentatious of Hina’s power. Hina says that she’s here to respond to her letter request about Dong-mae in person, since she doesn’t trust written documents. Hina reveals that Dong-mae trespassed Ae-shin’s house with the letter that Grandfather wrote to his fellow noblemen. All the letters had been burned, and Hina presumes that Dong-mae returned the last remaining copy because he wanted to save Grandfather’s life.

Ae-shin thanks her for the information, and before she leaves, Hina asks about her visit to the palace. Thinking back to her brief interaction with Eugene, Ae-shin cryptically responds that she almost cried, but fortunately, she smiled. Meanwhile, Eugene ponders his gift from the emperor, a Joseon flag.

The Royal Military Academy begins training its enlisted young men, and Eugene introduces himself as their drill instructor. The enlisted men mumble curiously about Eugene’s American uniform and unfamiliar name, but Eugene takes no interest in their side conversations. He says he’ll be teaching the newbies how to survive and warns them that his lessons will be short and infrequent, yet difficult. The newbies grumble that they’re already tired, but Joon-young, the young man who was adamant on getting access to guns, looks determined.

Eugene introduces the newbies to the different types of guns, and Joon-young immediately requests to take the Russian sniper gun. But Eugene distributes the weaker gunpowder gun to familiarize themselves with carrying the weapon.

Wan-ik yells at his insider palace guard for the late notification of Eugene’s appointment as the Royal Military Academy instructor, and the guard says that Minister Lee Jung-moon conspired against them to keep this under wraps. Then, Minister Lee enters with a newly hired interpreters to replace the ones that Wan-ik bribed to his side. He insults Wan-ik by calling him indecent, and it seems that Minister Lee was one step ahead this time.

Wan-ik intrudes the training session, where the newbies clumsily aim their guns at the targets. At the sight of Wan-ik, Eugene aims his loaded gun and shoots at the target behind Wan-ik, nearly hitting him. Wan-ik looks at him with shock, but Eugene shoots again, remembering the traitor Kim Yong-joo’s revelation about Wan-ik being the real culprit who murdered Ae-shin’s parents. Eugene covers up his ulterior motives by yelling at the newbies for their poor shooting posture and excuses them for the day.

Wan-ik confronts Eugene about his bewildering welcome to the training, and he asks if Eugene is Minister Lee’s spy. Wan-ik tries to threaten Eugene by name dropping Allen (the American ambassador), but Eugene scoffs at Wan-ik’s false accusations. Their conversation is interrupted by Joon-young, who aims his unloaded gun and pretends to shoot at them. It seems that he’s aiming for Wan-ik, and Eugene orders for Joon-young to be escorted away.

Back to their tense conversation, Wan-ik warns Eugene to simmer down, since he could easily get kill of a Joseon man with an American name. Eugene reciprocates the threat, claiming that he could also easily kill a Joseon man with a Japanese name. Eugene adds another warning about the foreign minister position, reminding him that the previous ministers before him were murdered.

Gwan-soo meets with Duk-moon, Wan-ik’s assistant, and reports useless information about Eugene’s cold demeanor and terrible Virginia accent when he speaks English. Duk-moon asks if there are any women in Eugene’s life, and Gwan-soo feigns innocence, lying that he only knows about Eugene’s work life. Duk-moon erupts in anger that Gwan-soo failed to report anything useful after enjoying such an expensive meal, and he demands that Gwan-soo report noteworthy information next time.

After Duk-moon leaves, the side door opens to reveal Dong-mae, who then opens another side door to reveal Eugene. Gwan-soo looks relieved at the sight of Eugene, but only briefly because Eugene asks Gwan-soo about his insults. Gwan-soo insists that they were only fake insults and quickly excuses himself before he digs himself a bigger hole.

Dong-mae suggests that they enjoy the remaining food, and Eugene seems surprised by Dong-mae’s uncharacteristic friendliness. Dong-mae reveals that he knows Eugene’s backstory and expresses sympathy as a fellow low-class slave. Eugene says that he didn’t openly acknowledge Dong-mae’s background despite knowing that he was a butcher’s son, and Dong-mae praises him by calling Eugene the most dignified slave he knows. Eugene accepts the compliment and jokingly consoles Dong-mae not to be disappointed that he’s a better person than Dong-mae.

Dong-mae admits that he killed everyone who derided his parents upon his return to Joseon, and he asks Eugene why he didn’t do so. Eugene confesses that he’s imagined killing his parents’ murderers multiple times, and Dong-mae wonders: “Did you forgive them or did you lack to courage? Unlike our parents, we have the ability to kill anyone.”

Eugene responds, “I chose to not kill because unlike our parents, we have the ability to choose.” Dong-mae acknowledges and jokes that he’s right — they have the ability to choose between a sword or a gun. Eugene laughs and says that he’s realized that he has business to take care of, thanks to Dong-mae, and he heads off to meet with Hee-sung’s mother.

Hee-sung’s mother looks distraught that her son knows of their tragic relationship with Eugene, and she accuses Eugene for burdening her precious son with this information. Eugene clarifies that Hee-sung had already found out this information on his own, and he says that he’ll keep the ornament, since it represents the cost of his mother’s life.

Eugene vows to never forgive them for their sins against his parents; however, he won’t be burdening Hee-sung with his parents’ sins, since those sins don’t belong to him. Having experienced long journeys to and from Joseon, Eugene sympathizes with Hee-sung’s own journey ahead and tells his mother to support him. Hee-sung’s mother looks at Eugene with disbelief as he leaves.

Hee-sung visits the tailor and asks for a new suit with the measurements used for the garments sent to Tokyo. He claims that he’s trying to lose weight, but we know that he’ll be giving this new suit to Ae-shin. Back in his hotel room, Hee-sung opens up the official marriage request letter from his family and reads it as he reminisces about Ae-shin. He cries in acknowledgement of this impossible fate, and the ink on the letter bleeds from his fallen tears.

Hina practices fencing with Leo, the French ambassador’s secretary, and he stops her to check on her knee. He slides his hands up her leg, and he tries to seduce Hina to return to France with him. Hina realizes that he’s her prime suspect for seducing the traitor lady, Mrs. Kang, and she points her fencing sword at Leo’s chin, telling him to get out.

Hina’s spy watches Leo and Mrs. Kang meet from afar, and we hear Hina’s voiceover instructing the spy to report to her if he observes the two meeting for the third time, since it wouldn’t be a coincidence then. As suspected, Leo seduces Mrs. Kang with the promise to move to France together and requests the list of the emperor’s secret reporters. She whines that he promised to move to France after the American missionary deal, and she asks to know who’s behind all of this. Leo shushes her and promises to reveal the conspirator upon his arrival to Joseon from Japan.

An army of Japanese soldiers march through Joseon waving the rising sun flag. Their infestation is overseen by this suspected conspirator, but we only get a slight peek at his face.

Ae-shin’s servant twists hay into rope with his fellow servants as he thinks about Eugene’s warning about an informant in the household leaking information to outside sources. The servant has his suspicions about this informant, and he wonders how he’ll handle this disclosure.

Eugene trains the newbies at the military academy on breathing when shooting. He places a baduk stone on the muzzle of the guns, and he instructs them not to make any gun noises when they practice pulling the trigger. At Eugene’s command to shoot, one of the trainees loudly mimics the gunfire sound, causing the rest of the newbies to drop the stone on their gun. Eugene instructs all the newbies to repeat after him: “I am an idiot.”

Joon-young looks at Eugene angrily and doubts Eugene’s qualifications to teach them, since he missed the targets when aiming for Wan-ik the other day. Eugene confidently takes Joon-young’s gun and tells him to place the stone on the muzzle. He expertly shoots the gun at the target without dropping the stone, impressing the rest of the newbies. He instructs the newbies to practice on their own and summons Joon-young to his office.

Eugene asks Joon-young about his documents to enlist in the academy, specifically on how he knows the consulate at the American legation. Joon-young asks if Eugene is close with this consulate, and Eugene claims that he knows the consulate well. Eugene accuses Joon-young of these forged documents and claims that the consulate knew that he was signing off on forged documents. Joon-young wonders how Eugene knows this, and Eugene finally reveal that he’s that consulate, pointing at the name on his uniform and the signature on the documents.

Joon-young asks if he’ll be kicked out of the academy, but Eugene offers two options: kill him or trust him. It’s actually just one option, since Joon-young isn’t skilled enough to kill him, and Joon-young asks why Eugene would propose this offer. Eugene explains that he’s offering to be Joon-young’s real guarantor — not just a fake one on forged documents — because he can.

At his house, Grandfather looks at the sky and wonders if he’s the black bird in Eugene’s sky, or if Eugene is the black bird in his sky. Somi, the worker at Glory Hotel, arrives with a carriage from Hee-sung, and Grandfather grants this exception for Ae-shin to escape house arrest to visit Hee-sung at the hotel.

Hee-sung waits at the pool table in the hotel and sinks the 8 ball. Hina enters the room to announce Ae-shin’s arrival and tells him that he’ll lose if he pockets 8 ball first. Hee-sung knows this and responds with optimism, telling Hina that he’ll lose but consequently begin a new game.

When Ae-shin arrives, Hee-sung proposes a round of pool with a bet — winner is granted a wish. Hee-sung goes first, claiming that he needs to win, and he sinks all of balls in one go. He finally sinks the 8 ball and reveals his wish to break up with Ae-shin and officially end their engagement. Ae-shin looks at him tearfully, and Hee-sung gently holds her. He asks that she remain strong as she endures the difficulties of this broken marriage, and Ae-shin sincerely thanks him for everything. He believes the sincerity in her gratitude because he had been genuine in his feelings towards her.

Afterwards, Hee-sung burns the marriage letter as a final gesture to end their engagement. Ae-shin finds the pressed flowers from Hee-sung’s bouquet in her book, and she lets the delicate petals fly away from her hand. In response to their broken engagement, Hee-sung’s mother meets with Aunt and apologizes for this flaw that will follow Ae-shin for the rest of her life. Aunt trusts that Ae-shin will endure the difficulties, and she tells Hee-sung’s mother to take care of her health, since she always sees her in a scarf.

Hee-sung’s mother takes off the scarf to reveal the scar on her neck, and she tells Aunt that this scar is a flaw that will forever follow her. She doesn’t reveal the details, but she explains that this scar is the reason why they couldn’t become in-laws. They wish each other the best and bow as a final gesture to end their families’ promise.

Dong-mae overhears the news of Ae-shin’s broken engagement on the streets, and he laments that Ae-shin has become one step further from him. Eugene also hears of this news while eating with Gwan-soo, who presumes that Hee-sung had another lover in Japan. But Eugene disagrees and says that Hee-sung loved and will love only one woman.

Their conversation is interrupted by royal guards who point their guns at them. Gwan-soo raises his hands in fear until they announce that they’re only here for Eugene. He lowers his hands and motions them to take Eugene, in petty revenge of Eugene’s previous abandonment of Gwan-soo to Dong-mae’s gang.

Eun-san drinks with Seung-gu, who vaguely describes his long journey in delivering the letters for Grandfather. Eun-san warns a confused Seung-gu that something will cover his head soon, and royal guards immediately drag Seung-gu away with a cloth to cover his head. Eun-san continues to drink nonchalantly and thinks back to Seung-gu’s vow to become a rebel. He’s opened the path for Seung-gu and leaves the rest to him.

Seung-gu is dragged through the woods to meet with Minister Lee, who recruits him to be the new head of palace security. With Wan-ik taking control of the royal court, Minister Lee needs Seung-gu on their side to protect the emperor. Seung-gu vehemently refuses, but Minister Lee came prepared with hostages: Eugene and the mechanic. Minister Lee threatens to reveal the true culprits — Seung-gu as the thief, the mechanic who disassembled the gun, and Eugene who covered it up — behind the stolen American gun case to Allen, the American ambassador.

Eugene urges Seung-gu to accept the position and reminds him of the promise they made about Eugene being at the end of the road for Ae-shin. He’s toast if the American legation finds out and motions him to quickly accept. Seung-gu turns to Minister Lee and says that he has no reason to decline because he’ll be closer to two enemies in the palace. Minister Lee doesn’t know of another enemy besides Wan-ik, and Seung-gu makes it three by adding Minister Lee to his list.

Eugene thinks back to their mission to frame Minister Lee Se-hoon and how Seung-gu aimed his gun at Emperor Gojong. Realizing that Gojong is Seung-gu’s other enemy, Eugene asks Minister Lee Jung-moon what this head of security would do. Minister Lee explains that the Seung-gu would closely guard the emperor, and Eugene warns Seung-gu to guard the emperor from afar for the sake of their lives.

The innkeeper pours Eun-san a glass of alcohol to celebrate correspondence from Righteous Army member Seung-jae regarding his safe arrival in Shanghai. Eun-san looks lost in thought and informs the innkeeper that they won’t be seeing Seung-gu for a while. He then asks about Sang-mok, the Righteous Army member who was caught by Dong-mae, but they haven’t heard anything from him since his disappearance. We see Sang-mok running through the woods at night with Dong-mae’s threatening proposal about joining the Righteous Army if he can make good money.

In the morning, Dong-mae asks Hotaru for his fortune that day, and she quickly clears her table when she realizes Dong-mae’s fatal misfortune. He turns over the cards that she cleared and asks for the meaning of these unfortunate-looking cards. She writes in her notebook and reveals that his cards mean death. Dong-mae says that she could be wrong, but Hotaru holds his arm, begging him to stay. Dong-mae leaves anyway because it’s mid-month — time for the long-awaited meeting with Ae-shin.

Dong-mae paces at his dojo waiting for Ae-shin, and he freezes when she arrives. He tells her that she’s the talk of the town with her recent broken engagement, but she doesn’t seem bothered. She’s come to fulfill her promise of payment, and she also wished to express her gratitude for delivering the letter to her grandfather. She promises to meet again after the next half month, and Dong-mae watches her leave, telling himself that his fortune was wrong because Ae-shin keeps saving him. He tightly holds the coin that Ae-shin gave him and looks at her with the most forlorn eyes.

Hina showcases the peddler’s palace jewelry to her frequent lady guests, including Mrs. Kang, and the peddler highlights a bracelet that supposedly grants the wish of its owner. As the ladies tease Mrs. Kang about her wish being a handsome man, Hina looks out the window and makes eye contact with her spy, who nods at her. Mrs. Kang assures the ladies that her only wish would be a royal straight flush in poker, and Hina takes the peddler’s word and buys the bracelet. She hopes that she can find what she’s looking for and looks right at Mrs. Kang.

Later on the terrace, Hina looks at the bracelet and hopes that its magic will work. The pawnshop duo deliver the painted posters, and they assure her that they’re almost done with her other request (the doctor’s forged seal for the autopsy report). Hina tells the duo that she won’t be needing the painted posters anymore and gives them enough payment to burn the posters. She walks away, and Il-shik correctly guesses that the woman in the posters is Hina’s mother.

Ae-shin and her maid struggle up the hill to her hideout, and they’re surprised to find Eugene there. He says that he’s just visiting to check on her shooting practice, and Ae-shin says that it’s a shame because she was looking for Seung-gu to ask about his errand for Grandfather. They try to keep their conversation neutral in front of the maid, but she already knows that these two are overjoyed to see each other.

Ae-shin practices shooting and purposefully misses two of the clay pots so that Eugene will stick around. He expresses disappointment in Ae-shin saying that it was a shame to see Eugene at the hideout, and Ae-shin explains that she was trying to filter their conversation in front of her maid. Eugene admits that he wandered to the medicine shop and the dock the other day, hoping to run into Ae-shin at locations she frequents.

Ae-shin takes delight in his efforts, and she mentions the long conversation he had with another woman at the palace. He says that he wanted Ae-shin to hear what he was saying, and she asks who’s more beautiful: Ae-shin or the flowers. Eugene jokingly says that the flowers were more beautiful. Triggered by his joke, Ae-shin takes the remaining two bullets and shoots the two clay pots so that she won’t need his help anymore. Eugene applauds her skills and cheerfully tells her about training her future comrades at the military academy as she storms off.

The recipients of Grandfather’s letter meet at his house, and Grandfather asks them to add their name to his appeal to the emperor. The young scholars offer to stand in the front lines, but Grandfather insists that he lead this protest because he doesn’t have much life left. He urges them for support, as this is the way to educate the commoners who lack knowledge on the Japanese invasion. One by one, the young scholars sign their names to the appeal, determined to protest the weak emperor.

The next day, Eugene rides his horse past the ongoing protest led by Grandfather. The scholars kneel in their white garments with their untied hair as a sign of resistance, and Grandfather announces their grievances about the exploitation of Joseon goods leading to a full Japanese invasion. He urges Gojong to preserve the 500 years of Joseon history and warns the emperor that siding with Japan will lead the country to ruin.

The Japanese ambassador, Hayashi, meets with Wan-ik to address this protest in front of the palace. Hayashi orders Wan-ik to arrest the instigator immediately, but Wan-ik tells him to be patient because persecuting the scholars could ignite an uprising among the Joseon people. Hayashi fears that the emperor will withdraw their currency deal and threatens Wan-ik that the Japanese will come for him first if their plans go awry.

Ae-shin paces in her room, and her maid bursts in with an update on Grandfather’s protest. Then, another servant enters the room and notifies Ae-shin that her relatives have arrived to response to the protest.

Dong-mae picks out candies at the bakery and barks at the owner for avoiding him. He smiles at how the candy reminds him of Ae-shin, but his happiness is abruptly interrupted by a gun shot. Dong-mae flinches, and we see a pained look spread on his face. No, this can’t be. The villagers run away in fear, and Dong-mae holds his bleeding side in pain. He turns to the direction of the gunshot, and another bullet strikes him. NOOOO!

Dong-mae falls to the ground in agony, and he sees the shooter running away on the roof — it’s Sang-mok, the Righteous Army member that Dong-mae released. Hee-sung spots an injured Dong-mae and runs to help. Clenching his teeth in pain, Dong-mae says that it’s a relief that the shooter wasn’t Ae-shin. Hee-sung yells for help, and Dong-mae thinks to Ae-shin’s sincere expression of gratitude. He says that he’s confirming Ae-shin’s sincere gratitude like this. Then, Dong-mae falls unconscious, and Hee-sung yells at him to wake up.

At the language school, the instructor is taken away by Japanese soldiers under the accusation that she worked as a spy for the Americans. Ae-shin’s school friend tries to stop the Japanese soldiers, and when the soldiers threaten to kill her, the instructor intervenes and tells her student to inform the American legation.

Ae-shin watches her Aunt face her relatives, who blame her and the lack of a man in the household for this disaster. They’re interrupted by the intrusion of Japanese soldiers, and their leader announces that they’re investigating all of the students at the language school because their instructor was accused of conspiring against the Japanese. Ae-shin steps up to reveal that she’s one involved at the school and demands that the soldiers exit the house. She offers to comply with the interrogation but only with the Joseon police, but the leader of the Japanese soldiers ignores her request. He orders the soldiers to search the house, and Ae-shin glares at this disrespectful man.

Infuriated by the swarming Japanese presence, Ae-shin stares at a gun and tightly holds onto her dress. Her maid holds her hand to calm her down, and the leader of the Japanese forces scoffs at her. One of the soldiers reports that an American soldier is approaching, and we see Eugene enter the house. The Japanese leader greets Eugene familiarly in English, and Eugene recognizes him as his Japanese friend from the U.S.

Eugene tells his “friend” that his English hasn’t improved, and his Japanese friend responds in Korean. He reveals that his English didn’t improve because he had been learning Korean, eagerly waiting for his Joseon colony. The Japanese colonist smiles at his friend, saying that it’s nice to see him again.

 
COMMENTS

Hmm, that’s an interesting turn of events. I wasn’t expecting to have to remember the Japanese friend, but at this point, I should just assume that any Japanese character is an enemy. We could use more Dong-maes in this show to make the enemies more dimensional, but it looks like the show is committed to painting the Japanese as the ultimate enemy and wants to get rid of any grays like Dong-mae (more on that later). Though I would enjoy more layers to the enemies, I appreciate the sparked resistance. I really admire Grandfather for his commitment to Joseon and fearless resistance of the Japanese occupation of his country. His nobility doesn’t only come from wealth but from his wisdom and bravery, and I can see where Ae-shin gets her admirable qualities from.

Hee-sung really stood out for me in this episode, especially in his sacrifice of the engagement. Though his relationship with Ae-shin was almost nonexistent and short-lived, I believed Hee-sung with his sad puppy eyes when he finally let Ae-shin go. His sacrifice transcends his admiration for Ae-shin and encompasses the guilt he feels for his parents’ sins against Eugene. Despite Eugene’s separation of Hee-sung from his parents, Hee-sung continues to carry the burden of that guilt, and I’m sure that he’ll continue to carry that guilt throughout his life. Because that’s just who Hee-sung is. The pool analogy felt fitting for his relationship with Ae-shin and his commitment to a new game, and I hope that this fresh start will give Hee-sung the opportunity he deserves in this show.

Now, to address Dong-mae’s shooting: I am DISTRAUGHT. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I don’t watch the previews, so there was no way to soften the impact of Dong-mae’s supposed death. I’m hoping Hotaru’s reading was wrong for once, but I fear that this is not a drill. His last interaction with Ae-shin and his pure happiness at the bakery felt cruel and tragic, but I need his death to be more glorious and even more tragic. Surely, he was fated to die soon, given how many enemies he’s made as the notorious assassin. But getting misunderstood as a prime enemy by a Righteous Army member seems so lukewarm. I was a firm believer that Dong-mae wouldn’t come out alive, but this is not the way I imagined his exit.

I was hoping the next few episodes would offer an opportunity for Dong-mae to reach a turning point in his relationship with Joseon, but after his conversation with Eugene, I could see that Dong-mae held a different philosophy that made it impossible for him to redeem himself as a Joseon person. For him, getting revenge for his parents was the only logical decision, which led him down an irreversible path of destruction and inevitable death. At this point, I wonder about Dong-mae’s original character before the edits that resulted from the public criticism of his character’s pro-Japanese stance. I wonder if a more radical character would have been more interesting to watch, and I’m sure that Yoo Yeon-seok could have pulled it off with poignant brilliance. One can only imagine, and one can only hope that this isn’t the end for Dong-mae, who was truly my favorite character. A moment of silence to honor the sad ending that we were not prepared for.

 
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Thank you, dramallama, for the excellent recaps. I love that the ragtag gang of revolutionaries are gradually falling into place, and it looks like the true enemy is finally in the picture.

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Thanks for the quick recap! ^^

Hmm..I really don't know what to make of this Show. There's a lot of potential in the revolution et al, but instead the Show chooses to focus on five characters caught up in the times. This isn't Gaksital where the main character is central to the revolution. The five main characters aren't pulling the strings or calling the shots - no one is - they're just caught up in a world much larger than they are. Which is how life is, I suppose.

With Dong Mae's exit, 2/5th of the life of the show just died IMO.

Also I missed Tim's explanations re the guns at the Royal Military Academy this week. Grade A or F??

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Sometimes, I do get a slice of life vibe from this drama. This drama is less action, more a slice of life?

Not only the guns, I also curious what grade Tim will give to the stone that Eugene placed on the gun. Is it really authentic to the timeline? At times, Tim really surprised me with the items that he graded.

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I prefer the focus on how large history events impact the lives of otherwise-inconsequential-to-the-story people and perhaps shines a light on small impacts these individuals may have had on the event (but even without them having an impact, how it impacts them is crucial to my enjoyment). Shows about individuals during turbulent times causes more interest in that history for the average person that is not really into history, imo. (I AM into history and still I prefer my fiction to be about the characters more than the event.)

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I completely agree. I was so bored by history in high school. Then I started reading books about historical events, and I saw the individuals involved and their motivations and impacts on others, and I was hooked. Whether it was The Peloponnesian War (not quite history but close enough back then), The intrigues of the Roman Empire, or the people involved in the War of the Roses, the personalities of those involved, the way the "great men" of history were not so great at all, were in some ways corrupt, or evil, or uncaring, definitely ignorant and mistake-prone, was amazing.

In The Guns of August, the alliances and escalations of the great powers, which inevitably led to World War 1, reminded me of the position of King Gojong, and how the past decisions and mistakes of his predecessors had hamstrung his efforts at the end of his reign. Even going back just as far as the Daewongun and his policies and decisions, we see how Gojong, like the leaders of Germany and Russia, were boxed out of the decisions they wanted to take, that they should've taken to avoid their destructive fates.

Don't even get me started on von Hindenberg, who ended World War 1 by saying, let's put the intellectuals and leftists in charge, so they can take the blame. Does that sound familiar, even today?

When I read Dickens, Dumas or Zola, it makes me think of the ordinary laborers miners, and shopkeepers, sailors, lawyers or even doctors, who lived among the devastation of the wars they had no control over, or even worse, when their home nations won, the way the aristocracy would grind them down even more, to extract yet another pound of flesh.

And then there's the way history is whitewashed. The racism of Woodrow Wilson, the glossing over of the internment of the Japanese in WW2, the Zoot Suit Riots, The Rosewood Massacre. I never heard of any of these things in high school history.

I'm gonna stop here before I get on a rant.

When I think of history this way, and how history is woven even into the fiction of the day, I think, why can't they teach history this way? It'd be riveting, and honest.

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Excellent recaps. There seems to be so much impending tragedy here and my (unfortunately) limited imagination can not foresee any happy endings for most of the characters. Maybe it’s because we know Korean history of the beginning of the last century but I’m in fear for all of them.

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I agree. Knowing about the history in Korea over those ten years, and the devastation caused by Japan all the way into the forties, I just don't see how there can be a happy ending, unless it's in an escape, or they fade away to aid the guerrilla warfare that continued during the Japanese occupation. Either way, I guess it would be a happy ending filled with sadness, as Ae-Shin described earlier.

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The preview made me almost collapse with shock last week. I can finally shout it out loud without spoiling: OMG Dong Mae gets shot!!!!!

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I guess you must feel very relief to finally be able to let out that shout after a week.

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I think when we know what happened, the fact the Japaneses are painted as the villain seems logical. But Wan-Ik is a villain and korean.
I really don't understand The Right Army... They wanted to kill Eugene, now Dong-Mae. They try to kill the people who can help them or who already helped them. The both are korean but grew up in a different country, this fact could be very useful.

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Oh they had the final party, I barely recognized the actor who played Choon-Sik from the pawnshop. He's way more sexy without historical clothes :D

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But remember the rebels aren't us, crushing on sexy Dong mae. 🤪

To them Dong mae is a murderer who cuts people down for Japanese (or anyone's) money or on a whim, but especially because he works for the Japanese, adding insult to injury.

The man who shot Dong mae would be considered a hero by The Righteous Army comrades and they would be right.

That doesn't lessen the impact for me of Dong mae being shot.

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But he works for money. He's not a direct enemy of the Right Army. Killing him doesn't make the Japanese weaker. Some Japanese would be very happy too if he was dead. I undestand they want him to stop to terrorize the Korean in the streets but he's not a part of the japanese gouvernement and his death won't change the decisions that Japanese will take. The Right Army is not very strong, they should take smarter decisions.

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Yeah but from the Korean citizens' point of view 1) Dong mae is Korean himself and thereby a traitor for working for the enemy doing their dirty work. Throughout history occupied countries have hated this type of person more than the enemy themselves. 2) You know what to expect from your enemy, if you just be quiet and comply, as long as they don't catch you rebelling you are probably, possibly safe. But Dong mae always does the unexpected. Look at the "guys being guys" standing on the corner talking speculative sh*t about Ae shin the way all guys do and a barefoot Dong mae leaps down upon them unleashing death with no warning.

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Dongmae hates rapist and they were threatening the woman he loves.

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@modestgoddess By the way, do you recall which episode or to whom Dong mae said he "hates rapists"? I'd love to watch that so I can soon some more. 🙂

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@modestgoddess Were they? I didn't catch that. I thought they were just saying nasty things the way guys do. I'll need to rewatch that scene to see if it's explicitly said or even implied.

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episode 2 where DM and AS meet as adults for the first time.

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@lizmesenas21 Thanks dizzylizzy.
Why don't any of you people's links match your names? I wonder if people type in @ramonathepest they see some other weird name. No. I just typed my own and it's exactly the same. 🤔

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He never said he hates rapist but I’m assuming he does. His mother was raped. He killed the Japanese men that were bragging about raping Koreans and talking about Ae-shin. He also protected Hotaru from the man that attacked her for refusing to give him sexual sexual favors.

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@modestgoddess Thanks. You were right. I went back and watched that episode.

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I have a question that may be obvious to others, but isn't to me. What does Dong Mae ultimately want from Ae Shin. Eugene's motivation is fairly clear -- he wants as much time with her as he can get. He is resigned to the fact that he cannot have marriage, even though he would probably like it. Hui Seong's motivation is clearer now. He wants to help and protect Ae Shin, but seems to have resigned himself to the fact that he won't be marrying her. But Dong Mae? I know he wants to protect Ae Shin from harm (albeit in a misguided way, sometimes), but does he want anything else from her?

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I don't think Dong Mae knows what he wants. (Isn't that how love is some times? We "know" we are attracted to/long for/are in love with a person who seems beyond a reasonable hope of attaining.)

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He harbours hopes that she'll love him back. He knows it's impossible, and, frankly, I would love Hina or the other girl if I were him, but he loves her, and there's nothing he can do about it.

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Dong Mae is willing to protect Ae Shin by doing some appalling and dirty work. In order to protect her, he does not mind being called despicable and being hated. There is always yin and yang. How Eugene is for her is Yang( or how people perceive him is also yang)- - he does everything proper and right to get what he wants and needs- but how Dong Mae is for her in Ying( how people perceive him is also yin)- his action is often mislead by the most-.
I do not believe he wants something in particular from Ae Shin because he believes that he is not worthy for her love( and he knows that she does not like him) and he knows that Eugene and Ae shin are in love. Of course he wants to meet her every month so that she pays off her debt to him but this payment is only an excuse for him to meet her.

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Does this go back to the theme that, once you're born a slave, you'll always be a slave in your heart?

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Isn't that just it thought? The conundrum. Dong mae would kill anyone who dares treat him as a slave and yet he sees himself as not worthy (not taking into account that even if he does see himself worthy, society ain't lettin' that happen) . I believe Eugene is in the same boat or else he could press his case for Ae shin to chuck it all and leave when he goes back home. But he knows her life in America would consist of a small one bedroom (if lucky) apartment in a run down tenament. No horseback riding through beautiful fields, no servants to do the laundry or housework. Just a smoke filled, roach invested, fingers-worked-to-the-bone existence 'cause that's what life was like in the cities back then on a soldier's pay.

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Of course, he could be granted a title by the king, to shut those crybaby noble recruits up, and then marry Ae Shin and get absorbed into the Go family as their male heir to continue the family name.

That's what I'm rooting for!

But then the Japanese occupy Korea and that all goes to crap. -sigh-

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@grumpyoldman ...or at least the theme that you will always be perceived as a slave. There was an article in one of the korean papers (posted on my fan wall) where KES talks about wanting this drama to effect social perceptions of class in Korea. I don't think Eugene sees himself as a slave, though he is fully aware of how others perceive him as a slave.

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@beantown I totally agree. I think that Eugene and Dong Mae, and even Hui Sung have turned their beginnings on its heads. But also how society sees them. But isn't there a little piece, that internalized voice inside of them, that they also have to struggle with? I'm thinking of Eugene, when Ae Sin begins to hug him, that he raises his arm to hug her back, and then he stops himself. And Hui Sung, the way he hears his grandfather's watch so loudly, as though the footsteps of his doom are overtaking him.

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@grumpyoldman And isn't that a reflection of the gorgeous ambiguity found in life ...and kdramas!

I think Eugene is fully aware of the conflict between inner perceptions and societal impositions. He is brilliant...which is why KES carefully placed the blackbird scene of a noble (Lord Go) interacting with the slave (7 year old Eugene).

All societies seem to find divisions. Korea is a very homogenous society, so class is more important versus a heterogeneous society, where culture and race become the dividers.

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@beantown, "And isn't that a reflection of the gorgeous ambiguity found in life ...and kdramas!"

Yes. I would've said Kdramas... and life, but yes.

I had completely forgotten about that scene, in context of internal vs external life. I had seen it as a sign of Eugene's perceptiveness, and purely as a driver for Lord Go finally accepting Eugene, but you're right. That's beautiful.

Writing on multiple levels. That's so beautiful. Mr. Sunshine just went up another notch for me.

@beantown, I bow before your perception and your view.

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Though the drama does not show how Dong Mae's life was in Japan, they also had a rigid class system and back in Edo period( and possibly early Meiji Era) in Japan, his class was also considered underclass. Even the class system was banned by law, the prejudice was very deep and long lasting both in Korea and Japan. What he does now( some sort of yakuza) was probably one of few career choices that he was offered. While Eugene can grab his opportunity and a better career choice easier because he arrived in the States, Dong mae did not have the opportunity that Eugene was given, I believe. Also he was chased away from him mother though it was out of her love, I wonder if he recognized her deep love for him when he was young. Those horrid circumstance made him hate himself and his society. At this point, he understands fully well that people would dislike him, fear him no matter how good he might change so he is willing to do dirty jobs in order to make sure Ae Shin will survive.

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Yes, I had not put that together with Meiji Japan, and how many of the members of the imperialistic Shogunate had nimbly inserted themselves into the new government, to the point where even the Emperor's committees were being appointed with members of the ruling Samurai class. The story of Mori's life in Japan makes much more sense in light of that.

I absolutely see your point regarding Dong Mae and how it made him hate so much. I would draw a parallel between What Dong Mae went through in Japan, and what Eugene went through in America, but the fact that Eugene's was shown, and Dong Mae's was not, makes me think that his was far worse. And Eugene had Joseph to come home to, even if only for a few years.

I also thought about Dong Mae's mother and how she drove him away. I think he knew she did it because she loved him, but even so he couldn't bring himself to leave the village where she was. That's why he saw her and his father get killed, and that's where Ae-Shin rescued him.

I think of the difference between Dong Mae's mother telling him to go, and Yu Jin's mother telling him the same thing. One filled with rage, the other filled with love, and it's shattering. You bring up a really good point.

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Dongmae knows that Ae-shin out of his league and her love is unattainable. He just wants to protect her and have an excuse to see her every month. That’s why he was over the moon happy when she came to see him and thanked him. Now she acknowledges his help and he can look forward to seeing her monthly.

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I also wonder about that. Does Dong Mae love Ae Shin, or does he just want to possess her? Or does he just want her to owe him, the way he owes her for saving his life, however unwillingly? Or does his life have any meaning beyond revenge, except that she wanted him to live, and as long as she continues to want him to live, he will be worthy to live?

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I believe Dong mae is in love with an idea and ideal of Ae shin on a pedestal. In his mind the only pure and clean person and only one to show him kindness (at least at that time). So the only life he could offer her would be similar to Haruto's and that even if the impossible happened and Ae shin fell in love with Dong mae and moved in with him, Dong mae would have ruined the one thing he gets from her by being at a distance. He would have sullied the very thing that creates the ideal and therefore, the love. That would breed resentment cause human beings are stupid like that. 😕

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But then most of their interactions are bristling with his anger, and are at least a little threatening. Is that his way of pushing her back?

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My amateur psych eval : I think he's angry in general. Today we might equate it with someone whose been in the foster care system (not all foster parents or kids), shuffled around - longing for parents' love, always hoping but scared to show that weakness of what they want because they know it's unlikely they'll get it so they lash out in anger, sometimes at the very people (when they find a decent family) who are trying to help.
Dong mae has all the feels, but knows Ae shin would never entertain even the thought of him. Heck, Eugene only weaseled his way into her heart because she had no idea he could possibly be "low born" because their own culture at that time didn't really allow for advancement so to meet him in what send a powerful position she assumed...

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I think he loves her and is unable to ignore or put away this feeling. He doesn't need any more kindness from her as he will see it as a hope that he does not deserve and his heart will falter more. I also think he no longer has the courage to pursue her but still want to protect her as long as he lives. Thus he gives her the choice of ending his life if she no longer wants to pay the one coin or keep him alive. I also think his anger towards her is more to guard his heart and keep her continue to hate him and not showing him any form of kindness. But the his good deed to Grandpa Go earned him a thank from AS, a show of kindness when he thought she would not want to keep him alive after he scaled the wall to meet her grandpa.

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@ramonathepest, "Eugene only weaseled his way into her heart because she had no idea he could possibly be "low born" ... "

This line had me rolling. Eugene is such a weasel! I guess you're team Dong Mae. :-)

I guess Eugene was only able to weasel his way into Dong Mae's heart by saving him from the Lee Wan Ik thugs, and seeing he also was low born, but didn't treat himself (Dong Mae) as trash.

Next comes Hui Sung, who weasels his way into Dong Mae's heart by being a pest (like a kid brother), saving his life, and slapping him on his injured shoulder.

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@miracle23, I see your point and I agree with it, but I feel more like, instead of him not deserving her kindness, when he receives her kindness, or even her acceptance, it raises his hope, and then his grief, when he's inevitably disappointed.

But maybe Dong Mae can take a hint and not kill people or stomp them when Ae Shin is around...

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@ramonathepest, my second reply.

In PTSD research, children that have been subjected to long-term trauma (which I think would include Dong Mae and Eugene), tend to develop from attachments based on 3 different type of boundaries. There's soft boundaries, where the person gloms onto a family member, new friend, or love interest (I'll call you soon. How soon?), hard boundaries, where the person doesn't let anyone in, and pushes them away harder, the closer they get. I'd think of Dong Mae and his group. And then there's disorganized boundaries, where the person let's them in, and then pushes them away.

I don't know which type would fit Eugene, but I think if there was one that explained his doofy behavior every time he's with Ae-Shin, that one would be his.

Sometimes when they're together I swear they're 16, and not 28 - 42.

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Hi,
I`m replying to your comment about attachment.... a nice subject to bring up! but I think attachment styles are more related to the quality of the relationship between parents and the child..and trauma itself is not the problem but the way family dynamics worked during that trauma is the key... Here we have dong mae who was pushed away by his mother and he knows that was out of love...so I think he is repeating his conception of love he learned from his mother: aggressively pushing people back to support them is the only way to love. On the other hand, Eugene is doing the same her mother did: staying through...sacrificing what needs to be sacrificed and being there till the end. like you know those life schemes we form in childhood and we use throughout life...

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Oh, @miracle23, did you ever see such a look of longing in Dong Mae's eyes, as when he watched her walk out the door?

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@grumpyoldman in response to your post about "attachment". Excellent. I'm going to quote you, giving you credit at kjtamusings.com once she posts her recap because that is an excellent observation of Dong mae and Eugene.

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@farzannaaa Oops! I mean I'll give credit to farzane.

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@ramonathepest, (in Eugene voice) Now my feelings are hurt.

:-)
(if only chrome allowed imogees)

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@grumpyoldman of course! The most recent were with Chilbong and Money Flower, both are
Loves that can't be. I don't actually watch that much drama. But those that I watched intensely (e.g not for entertainment purpose) gave me so much feels that I am more than willing to keep repeating them. How I wish this is a book as I believe we will get more than currently given on screen. And our imagination will be limitless.

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haha ..Thanks mate! enjoyed the conversation..

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I do watch the previews. (And that's all I'm gonna say.)

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I watch them, too. I know things...

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You are better than Jon Snow then ! :D

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Same here. Both a blessing and a curse.

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I am itchy for the Ep 18 recaps *devil's grin*

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Are you thinking what I think you are thinking?

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I am thinking of what I think you think I am thinking is most probably what you think I am thinking ;p

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My head hurts.

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Thanks for the great recap @dramallama ^^ If you watch the preview of episode 17, you can hear Dongmae’s voice “Aaargh!” when he was shot the second time (they edited out his voice in the actual scene). My heart dropped when I heard his “Aaargh!” >< The pain, the shock, the disbelief were all captured in that single sound he made. Tragic ㅠㅠ

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Another question -- could someone remind me of the intricacies of the storyline about the autopsy report (s)? Who's autopsy is it. Who has the real report? Who has a forged report? Why does it matter?

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I got the feeling that the autopsy report indicated that foul play was involved in the death of Hina's husband. Wan-ik got a hold of that report, which eventually fell into his daughter's hands. Hina had the report forged to remove the doctor's suspicions of foul play, which were based on certain evidence collected from the autopsy. I do not know if the original report was destroyed, but the job of forging the report and the doctor's signature was given to the two pawnshop workers. They probably had to hold on to the real thing for a little while in order to realistically forge the doctor's writing and seal.

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You know I wondered about that. Would it have been better to forge a new, expunged autopsy report, or the original damning autopsy report with the Japanese seals being incorrectly done?

Wouldn't it be damning of the Doctor guy ( I just can't remember his name right now ) to make it look like he himself had tried to forge these documents, to blackmail Hina?

Maybe that's just too convoluted.

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🤔But now you made my brain hurt.😩 😭🤣

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So this is my second reply to @bluetrix for the same question. Down below are a few more comments on this subject which made me think more about what you said (I think, but stars are still circling my head). Wanik claimed he got the autopsy report to blackmail the doctor and keep him under his control. That would mean that the report not only would cast suspicion on Hina, but also that something in it was fishy that the doctor put in the report. *hmmmmm. twisty brainache*

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The autopsy report is for Hina's japanese husband who died under suspicious circumstances and it supposedly implicates her in poisoning him. Hina traded Ae sin the letters for the report in the famous gun/sword she-fight at Wan iks house. It matters because she could end up being accused and tried for murder.

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Whoops @peridot ..I didn't see your excellent response!

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Thank you! :)

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I think she is more concerned for the report not to end up into her father's claws again. She suffered enough and that report might be the perfect weapon he could use to force her to either marry again (he was looking for suitable candidates) or have her do what he wants (which might be even worse for her friends).

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Wanik claims he got the autopsy report to blackmail the doctor but I wouldn't put it past him to do exactly what you said if he still had it in his possession.

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yes i think so too. but then how is the doctor implicated then? *head spins too*😫

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That's okay, it's very cool that Peridot and Beantown replied with complementary information! Thanks very much to both!

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You're welcome! And thank you! :)

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Regarding that matter, does anyone remember why the report is of important to the Doctor?

Is it because it involved the inheritance from his dead husband. She might lose it to the husband's family if the truth is out and the Doctor plans to give it to the them?

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When I first heard about public criticism of this show, I worried about how the re-writes would harm the integrity of the story. I also wondered if Dong-mae's character would be sidelined. There was one episode where he didn't appear until much later, and I worried that he might be written out completely. I no longer think that that will be the case, but I do think that we will lose out on a lot regarding his character.

With Mori (the seemingly innocuous character shown in episode one), we now have our recognizable Japanese villain. Perhaps I shouldn't write anything else, since more was revealed in episode 18. I might write something on my fan wall instead.

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The appearance of Mori was the best. twist. ever.

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Can I impose on you for details or links regarding the changes to Dong mae's character?

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Thanks, peridot, for taking the time to locate and post the links. Thank you very much.

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You're welcome @ramonathepest

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And how could fans have known just how "pro Japanese" Dong mae could be if the show hasn't aired yet? Why would it matter how "pro" he is when other characters are also depicted as pro Japanese? Do I smell publicity story?

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The criticisms seemed to have occurred shortly after the show premiered. The links above provide a little more information.

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Thank you for the recap.
I was not aware that DM's character was changed because of the pro japanese criticism but I assume he would have evolved into what we see now anyway since his relationship with AS seems to be the only thing that makes him change/fight/do something for joseon (even if not directly). I like how differently the 3 guys are acting.
I am wondering about the 4 noble men that joined the army: they want to kill the bad guy but they do not seem to have any real plan or even think about the consequences.
The new japanese bad is an interesting plot twist. I completely forgot about him but it does seem a bit odd to add a new enemy so late in the game.

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I agree. If I had not known about the criticism and response, I would not have noticed any change. The writers handled it seamlessly. And it seemed like a really beautiful thing that Dong Mae could, so very slowly, be shown to have a heart.

It made me think of that saying, that no one is born truly evil, and no one can be turned completely to evil, if they have a heart. Except for Lee Wan Ik of course.

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Finally, I felt for Dong-Mae character. Also, finally episode 17 is my favorite episode. My favorite part was when Hee-Sung look at the letter and Eugene look at the ornaments. The musical instruments was so good and fitting. I watched it couple of times. It kind reminds of old Chinese drama with Ruby Lin in it. The musical instruments was really good. I replay it over over again. Other than that, I like the one on one frenemy of the trio. I watched the previews because sometimes I need to know what happened. I am impatient.🤣😂

I think Dong-Mae have a love-hate with Ae-shin. He hate her being who she is but love her because his feelings for her. I hope that makes sense. Lol I hope we get Hina background of her regards her mom and her decease husband. Also, how Hina and geisha met Dong-Mae. We halfway to this drama. We need more actions and more background of some characters. As for me, in my opinion, Lee Wan-Ik is a true villain because he is the one that want to above anyone else including Japan.

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If i had to choose between two of the main female characters i chose Hina. She’s smart and independent. She has money and power. And most importantly she has freedom unlike Ae sin. And Hina doesnt have to be a love interest to Eugene *yuck* She has more scene with Dong Mae! Only downfall is that she has a bit of a sad backstory and her dad is the villain

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What a beautiful and rare drama this is.
1. For me it feels like watching an epic movie which you dont want to end. And the treat is that Im getting 24 hours of this feast
2. Add to this epic movie the korean drama style and acting, which has me completely hooked for the past 2 years and ladies and gentlemen, here I have my perfect recipe.
3. The lack of clichés, and “down the hill post ep 12s” is what is making this show rare and unique to me.
4. I respect all character portrayals and theirs arcs ( I do endeed believe they are having arcs) and I’m finding travelling this journey with them very compelling.
5. The leads are awesome and consistant, my fondness with skinship aside, the writer has gotten me into respect how gently, respectful, and yes, passionate these two are loving and ready to love each other.
6. The story itself, it is such a risky job to get into this period, so well done KES for trying, you are not making a documentary, this is fiction based in events that happened at a very difficult time in Korea. As an international viewer Im not usually deceived by what I see, I consider myself capable of not believing everything Im seeing. Again it’s fiction, very well and interestingly done fiction.
7. It is the first time Ive encountered such hate in this site, and I find it bizarre given the high quality of this production. I dont quite understand whats going on..
8. Im not up to date with eps so I cant really join in the discussions with you beanies. All I can say is keep enjoying Mr Sunshine and lets hope at least one of the survives ;)

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Your #3, I see a new trope beginning - the beginning down to tie/fix the shoe as we saw also in Descendants of the Sun. Luv it!

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"bending down"
Stupid ad popped up under my finger as I was about to proof and also to add:
"bending down with a beautiful landscape or background..."

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Havent seen that episode yet ;)

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Dod that not occur in Ep 17? Oops, so sorry! I hate spoilers and this who post them! Again, I'm sorry everyone. 😩😢

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Not at all! Dont worry about spoilers! It is indeed from ep 17, its just me! Im behind you guys as Netflix has only shown up to ep 14 here.
Thats why I was saying that Its a shame i cant really join the recap discussions

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I'm watching in Netflix as well so what country are you in where they're delaying putting up the episodes? (That is, if you don't mind saying where you're from? If not, I understand.)

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Not to worry! We can follow later comments through the beanie wall, or you can respond directly to the post-er and continue the discussions. Beanies never get tired of discussing kdramas!!

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I’m in Spain and Netflix is one week behind with Mr Sunshine here. It premiered July 19th.
The good news is we are able to watch Life, Im on ep 8 at the moment. I think some other countries have not gotten it yet which is weird cos we are usually the last from my experience.

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I watched this episode of Mr Sunshine on my big TV for the very first time this weekend (usually watch it on my phone), and the cinematography is truly breathtaking. I really love Hee Sung this episode. I can truly feel his heartbreak through his acting but I also fully support his decision because it’s the right thing to do. AS doesn’t love him and would like the freedom to pursue what she wants, so he’s backing away out of love and respect for her. I also love how Eugene doesn’t make a big deal of the cancelled engagement. (Unlike some Kdrama who likes to make a big deal of moments like this)
He accepts it and even defend HS when his intepreter says HS probably has another woman. It’s this kind of subtle yet heartwarming moment that makes me LOVE Mr. Sunshine so much.

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Exactly two scenes gripped me this episode: 1) Hee-sung totally distraught on the couch crying over the engagement announcement. I had flashbacks of Gong Yoo doing the same thing over on Goblin, and breaking my newbie kdrama heart. 2) Dong-Mae getting shot, not just once, but twice! And Hee-Sung right there imploring “Stay with me!” @dramallama, I don’t watch previews either and it came out of left field! I watched this episode with my exhausted sister-in-law on our biggest television, and she was impressed in the beauty and even more with the story once I explained it all. Really, I could see KES pitching this and you’d have to be insane not to produce it. And then I told her it was on NETFLIX. Looks like someone will be binging this.

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It's a shame. By the time you get these out I've already seen the second weekly episode.

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This recap is here unusually quickly.

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I disagree, this one came out really fast compared to the previous ones! I’ve been watching each episode timed to catch the recap and I barely watched Ep 17 or maybe I was watching it when it posted. Remember that re-cappers have to watch the show (which this is linger since it’s TVN), then write about it, do screen shots, edit their writing, and then post it. And there’s probably a second person that reads and edits it as well. So, kudos to @dramallamab for taking on this gargantuan task.

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Yeah I know and this one is running on Netflix so there are no delays with the episodes coming out translated. I get that. It just means I usually can't comment on this first episode. lol

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An option is to delay your watching in future.

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Right. I doubt I'll do that it's the only Kdrama I'm watching right now.

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I feel like everything finally happened in this episode, which was both great and overwhelming. We're in the last haul of the show and it looks like Show is scrambling to create as much a stir as possible, with Dong-mae getting shot and the (re)introduction of our newest Big Baddie, Eugene's old Japanese "friend." As I said back at episode 1--I'm here as long as Dong-mae is here, no matter what direction this show goes in. I have hope he'll live a few more episodes, I trust Hee-sung to get him to a doctor, because, yes, this supposed death just seems too lukewarm for such a complex, tragic character. His death has to be EXTRA TRAGIC for me to feel satisfied.

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The cinematography is really great in this show . I loved the tray of candy falling milk while I the view was sideways. Like our world has turned upside down with Dongmae being shot.

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Dramallama, I am so grateful for your early recap of an episode that I loved. I enjoy your recaps more than anyone else's that I've read here, I guess because you show a lot of caring for the characters. I wonder though, are you part of the 49.9 percent of viewers who prefer Dong Mae to Eugene?

I really loved this episode, even with the cheesy Eugene trying to tease Ae-Shin. I swore that she was going to pull her gun on him again. I told a friend earlier that the "Eugene is confused" drinking game would probably get us sent to the hospital, but I think the "Eugene is a dating doofus" game would be much worse.

An example of the "Eugene is confused" game would be when Ae Shin starts talking to him about love. In my mind it goes like this. Ae Shin, "do you know what love is?" "Huh?" "I want to do it." "Huh?" "Would you like to do it with me?" "Huh?" "Is it because I am a woman? " "Huh?" "I can shoot a rifle you know..." "Huh?" If this was a game with shots, I'd be on the floor right about then.

In this episode what I really loved was the beginnings of real friendship between Eugene, Hee Seung, and Dong Mae. Dong Mae actually reaching out to Eugene with compassion was great. And even though He can't yet see Eugene's point of view, I haven't lost hope that as his friendships grow, he will see another way to be. Just as Dong Mae's number two bowed to Eugene in the end, out of necessity and also trust, and he will work together with Hee Seung as well (I did watch the previews, sorry), I can only see those connections growing. So I do have hope for Dong Mae, that he will survive, and that he will continue to change, even if only slowly. I think people may get tired of me saying this, but in this show it seems, that people can only put their feet where their eyes can see, and even if they can't see another person's perspective yet, they can still at least see the next few steps that might get them there.

Another person who really surprised me was Ae-Shin's friend, Nam-Jong (sp?) who actually risked her life to try to stop the Japanese troops from taking her teacher. She showed such courage and love for her teacher, I was cheering for her all the way. Now I hope they show more of her courage and her affection in the future. Maybe something with Kyle? (hahahaha)

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Thanks @dramallama for the recap. I have been tapping my feet waiting for your recap and comment. DM-HS, DM-EC, and HN with whoever are the best treats for me in this episode. I will wait till the next episode's recap before I said anything more. *back to hiding*

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Can someone tell me what being a guarantor for someone who enters the Chosun military entails? If they desert, is the guarantor thrown in jail? Assets seized? What?

And how can a foreigner, a military officer who's there with no property of his own, or even the right to sign away his freedom (due to his being bound to service), be an acceptable signatory?

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Right? Are they just a character reference that the applicant isn't going to be a traitor? (Wrong!) Like, needing a senator to recommend you for a US service academy? Got me.

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As a newbie to Kdramas and this site, I have a question. Does Korean tv tend to run each season as its own series? Like Mr. Sunshine series 1, then series 2, then series 3? or would it be Mr. Sunshine season 1, then season 2, then season 3? On the BBC for example, Downton Abbey was Series 1, then 2, then 3.

The reason I ask is that there seems to be some expectation that all the plot lines will be resolved by episode 22. Is that how it goes, or is Mr. Sunshine designed to be a single season series?

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Kdrama RARELY, RARELY, EVER does second seasons. And when they do, they're usually very disappointing. Most actors are busy starting their next projects because the series are so short (compared to American tv) that the actors are usually involved in other projects so most season 2's are with an entire new cast and usually new characters with only the title and maybe the premise being the same.

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Thanks, @ramonathepest. That will make me bite my nails even more over the next 4 episodes.

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Next 6! It is scheduled for 24 episodes in total.

It is more likely for a kdrama to finangle with the number of installments in a series than it is for there to be another 'season'..
Think Masterpiece Theater vs. (Idk) M.A.S.H!?

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Thanks! I have so much to learn, now that I'm hooked on Kdramas.

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@grumpyoldman Welcome to the club! It is a life-changing voyage of discovery..😘

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Welcome! However, if you wanted shows with more than one season, Age of Youth and the Let’s Eat series are two that have more than one. However, every season does wrap up its story arc, unlike American or British TV where you might end on a cliffhanger!

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Thanks. Right now I'm just enjoying the beauty, story, heartbreakingness, writing, everything about Mr. Sunshine. It's all I can take.

I can't remember ever seeing any TV series that comes close, in almost 60 years of tv watching. And that's only because that's when we got our first tv.

Many years ago Pauline Kael, a film critic for the New Yorker magazine, wrote a column about how film and tv were not true art. I strongly disagreed. There's so much schlock in both film and TV, yes, but Mr. Sunshine I see as a work of art, right up there with the Seven Samurai, War of the Arrows, Spirited Away, the Seventh Seal, I can't even remember who else was on my list. But Mr. Sunshine is up there.

It's the only series that when I watch it, I have to turn off my phone and my ipad to just focus on it and nothing else, even if I'm watching it for the second or third time. Each time I notice a new phrase, a new gesture or expression. I just love it.

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Cinematography-wise, kdramas are miles ahead of western shows, in my humble opinion. This one is crazy good though! Every frame is perfection. The symmetry of some of the frames are so eye-gasmic, I pause the frame to just look at the details.

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Me too! I guess my hashtag would be, #imherefortheprettyandthensome.

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@ally-le, when I think of art, I do think of cinematography, but I also think of the story, characters, emotional content. The beauty of film is that it combines words, sound, vision, even movement. Beyond Rodin or Van Gogh, Swan Lake or Shakespeare, Film has that potential to surpass them all. I think it's still growing as an art form, and I can hardly wait to see what it'll be. Though I don't think I'll live to see it when it finally matures.

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Also here are two great sites to help with getting familiar with the actors :
DramaWiki.com and my number 1 go to is AsianWiki.com

Airtight DramaWiki has more info (bigger library and OST info), the reason AsianWiki is my number 1 is when I first started watching Kdrama, I couldn't tell Cha Seung-Won from So Ji sub (or anyone else for that matter) when they look NOTHING a like to me now. But AsianWiki shows pictures of the actors as they are styled in the particular show that you're looking up so if their hair is dyed or they have bangs or hair off their forehead, or if they've aged or changed since the drama, you can more easily distinguish them and if you click on their name/pic it will take you to a pic so you can see their natural /current looks. That sounds silly to me now but back then, it really helped me a lot.

And if you're watching a show that Dramabeans isn't recapping but you have cultural questions and are looking for a recap or someone to discuss it with just Google "recap of [name of show]" and there are plenty of blogs and forums out there. Besides Dramabeans, I frequent most kjtamusings.com and kfangirl.com. Really nice people there.

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thank you, @ramonathepest. I'm bookmarking them right now.

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I often occurs to me how great a KES drama would be if she partnered with somebody who could write plot.

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I NEED 18th episodes recaps!
I can`t figure out the thing that happened at the END!
tryin not to spoil! :D

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Thanks!
any idea why I can`t register to this site? any display name I type, it says it exists even random letters!

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Hi farzane, can you email us at [email protected]?

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Can someone explain the very beginning of this episode and why Ae-shin laughs and then takes a huge bite of the peach, then struggles to talk? Why does she laugh? Is there some context here that the subtitles don't capture?

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