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Mr. Sunshine: Episode 18

A new antagonist enters our story, and just in time to give the plot a necessary kick as we prepare for the climax. Familiar faces step into new roles, and our cunning new antagonist disturbs the peace in Joseon by planting new seeds of suspicion. We’re finally seeing some movement to instigate the resistance—I’ve never been so ready and impatient for some epic chaos.

 
EPISODE 18 RECAP

Eugene enters Ae-shin’s house, where he’s met by an unexpected familiar face, his Japanese friend from the U.S. The general of the Japanese colonial forces, who we’ll later know as MORI TAKASHI, greets Eugene and reveals that he’s been learning Korean in preparation of his colonial rule.

Eugene decides to hash out their stories later and tells Ae-shin that the American legation is interrogating all those involved with the language school, as their instructor was accused of conspiring against the Japanese. When the American soldiers approach Ae-shin to take her away, she tells them in perfect English to stop and let her go on her own. The soldiers step back, and Takashi looks bothered that Ae-shin can speak English.

At Glory Hotel, Hina helps Somi with the English greeting for the incoming Japanese forces. Hina encourages Somi to speak with confidence, since none of the Japanese forces will understand what she’s saying anyway. Somi asks why they’re greeting Japanese soldiers in English, and Hina smirks, saying that this is an act of defiance. One of the hotel’s regular ladies arrives late for her gathering, and she tells Hina that she was held up by the ruckus from Dong-mae’s shooting. Hina’s eyes widen in shock at this news.

Yujo and the gang burst into the hospital and demand for a doctor. Hee-sung explains to Dr. Machiyama that Dong-mae has lost a lot of blood, and the doctor demands that they prepare for surgery. Bloody Dong-mae recognizes the doctor as the one that Hina warned to be under Wan-ik’s control, and he refuses to go under anesthesia. He tells Dr. Machiyama to just take out the bullets and he orders his gang to keep watch. If anything goes wrong, he orders his gang to kill the doctor.

On the operating table fully conscious, Dong-mae endures the pain of the bullet extractions with a mere cloth in his mouth. Hee-sung watches from outside the operating room, but this scene is not for the faint of heart, especially if your heart is fond of Dong-mae. Dr. Machiyama picks out the two bullets, and Dong-mae loses consciousness.

At the American embassy, Eugene brings Ae-shin and her maid coffee, and he assures them that they’ll be safe there. Eugene explains that he brought Ae-shin to the embassy to protect her, since her grandfather’s protest would make her a target. Ae-shin worries about Stella, her instructor, who was probably accused because of her affiliation with Ae-shin (and thus indirectly affiliated with her grandfather), but Eugene assures her that Stella’s status as an American will protect her. Ae-shin then asks about the Japanese general, and Eugene says that Takashi was a neighbor during his time in the U.S., but it seems that he didn’t know the man well.

Ae-shin worries about her notebook being discovered in search of her house, but her maid digs out the precious notebook from under her dress. Ae-shin smiles in relief, and her maid overshares that the notebook is full of Eugene’s name. Eugene looks delighted and tries to take a look, but mortified Ae-shin holds onto her notebook tight.

Kyle summons Eugene to discuss Stella’s detainment and updates him on Allen’s formal complaint to Japan about her capture. Kyle asks about why Ae-shin would be captured by the Japanese, and Eugene explains that her grandfather tried to persuade the emperor to turn against Japan. Kyle calls that epic and wonders what his last line would be.

When Hina arrives at the hospital, Hee-sung updates her about Dong-mae, but she heads straight to Dr. Machiyama’s office, where the doctor sends his nurse on an urgent errand to deliver a letter to Wan-ik. Hina intercepts the nurse and asks if he’s sending the letter to Wan-ik, asking whether he should kill Dong-mae. Dr. Machiyama tries to use his leverage with the autopsy report (that supposedly reveals that Hina’s husband was poisoned, likely by her) that he sent to Wan-ik, but Hina hands him the report from her bag.

Dr. Machiyama opens up the report and demands to know how Hina has this in her possession. He smirks that the report is now in his hands, but Hina is one step ahead of him — the report in his hands is fake. She smiles that this forged report passes as a real one, and she threatens him to keep Dong-mae alive if he wants to live another day. With that, Hina leaves for the welcome reception at her hotel.

As he returns to the hotel, Eugene notices the blood on Hee-sung’s clothes, and Hee-sung explains that Dong-mae was shot but recovering at the hospital. Hee-sung addresses Eugene’s recent visit to his house and uses this opportunity to formally apologize for his family’s sins against him. Eugene tells Hee-sung that he heard about the broken engagement and says that he won’t apologize. Hee-sung says that he has nothing to apologize for, since Eugene isn’t the reason for their broken engagement. Hee-sung says that Ae-shin chose for her own life, and Eugene also wishes for this.

Remembering Ae-shin’s willingness to risk everything for Eugene, Hee-sung asks Eugene how much he would give up for Ae-shin. Eugene says that he won’t bear to lose anything because he needs to maintain his status as an American and an American soldier to protect Ae-shin. Their conversation is interrupted by the cheers of the Japanese forces inside the hotel in their welcome reception.

Inside, Hina overhears the Japanese soldiers complain about Joseon women not doing enough to excite them, and she stops Somi from entering the reception hall. Hina instructs Somi to collect all the women workers into the kitchen and to send all the male waiters to serve the soldiers. Hina enters the hall with a bottle of alcohol, and a Japanese soldier repugnantly invites her to sit on his lap. Hina refuses, so the Japanese soldier pulls her into his lap and invites her to his room.

Hina calmly turns to him and says that she doesn’t drink with bad men, who only know how to abuse women and not know how to wield a sword. The other soldiers at the table laugh at her diss, and he threatens to kill Hina. Before he can hurt her, Hina gets up and swiftly points a sword at him. She challenges him to a match — if he wins, then she’ll gladly join him in his room.

The Japanese soldier falls for the challenge and grabs a sword. The sword fight commences, and Hina expertly slices a button off the soldier’s uniform. Eugene and Hee-sung enter the hotel to this tense commotion, and we see the soldier overpower Hina and push her against a table. Not one to be defeated, Hina grabs a bottle of alcohol and spills it on the floor before striking the soldier and making him slip onto the ground. Hina approaches him with her sword, and his fellow soldiers raise a sword to her neck. Hina smirks that these men are ganging up on her, but they retreat when Takashi, Eugene’s acquaintance and Japanese general, intervenes.

Takashi tells his soldier that he’s an embarrassment and apologizes to Hina for the trouble. In Japanese, Hina tells him that it was an exciting win for her, and Takashi notices the slight Joseon accent in her Japanese. Takashi switches to Korean, and they introduce themselves to each other. Takashi walks in front of the line of soldiers and tells them to never lose, since a soldier’s defeat will lead to the defeat of the Japanese empire. The Japanese soldiers cheer for the Japanese empire in unison, and Eugene and Hee-sung warily watch these invading soldiers.

Ae-shin’s servant confronts the mole in the Go household and accuses him of leaking family information in exchange for money. There’s no way they could afford four pigs on their own, and the Servant knows that the mole betrayed Ae-shin’s family by selling information. He warns the mole to stay away from the Go household, threatening to beat him up severely if he gets near.

Grandfather continues with his protest and pleads to the emperor to consider their appeal. With an ax in hand, Grandfather tells Gojong to kill them if he finds their appeal unacceptable. The Japanese ambassador Hayashi passes by the protest, and Grandfather scornfully demands that Hayashi get out of the way between him and the emperor.

At the royal court, the Japanese-siding ministers urge Emperor Gojong to punish the protesters, including Nobleman Go (Grandfather), who was the emperor’s longtime teacher. Hayashi pressures Gojong even further by saying that this situation would be unfavorable to report back to Japan. Minister Lee argues against this, but Gojong orders the protesters to be imprisoned. The Japanese soldiers drag the protesters away, and Grandfather weakly repeats the mantra honoring the emperor’s great power.

After witnessing this wrongful imprisonment of the scholars, Hee-sung urgently returns to his newspaper office aka the pawnshop and begins to work on a newspaper extra since he hasn’t established a name yet. He enlists the help of the pawnshop duo and immediately begins to write his piece: “Friday, March 21, 1903. At the emperor’s command, Go Sa-hong and his scholars have been arrested for protesting the currency exchange.”

The newspaper boys deliver the extra all throughout the streets, and the villagers comment on the unfair treatment by the emperor. Joon-young and his fellow military academy friends express uncertainty with their plans, especially in a climate in which Nobleman Go was imprisoned. One of the friends says that he made eye contact with Wan-ik and fears that he’s been discovered, but the other friends insist that they continue training.

Thinking back to Eugene’s disclosure that he’s the guarantor on their forged documents, Joon-young tells his friends that they need to rush their plan. He delegates the task of trailing Wan-ik to one friend while the remaining three work to get the key to the gun storage.

As the new head of palace security, Seung-gu enters the jail and greets Grandfather with a bow. Grandfather looks surprised to see Seung-gu in his uniform, but Seung-gu says that he’s not sure he’ll be executing the duties embedded in this uniform, especially now that Grandfather is imprisoned. Seung-gu updates Grandfather that the Japanese soldiers trespassed his home but assures him that Ae-shin is in the safest place away from the reach of the Japanese forces.

At the U.S. embassy, Ae-shin turns the globe and comments on how Joseon is small compared to the rest of the world. Eugene enters the room and sits Ae-shin down before telling her the news of Grandfather’s imprisonment. Ae-shin looks upset and tries to head to Grandfather, but Eugene advises her that inaction may prove best in this moment. He assures her by sharing that Seung-gu went to Grandfather under protected circumstances.

New head of palace security Seung-gu stands before the emperor with a deathly glare, and Emperor Gojong says that he recognizes his look as one of an enemy. Minister Lee explains that Seung-gu was close with Nobleman Go, and Seung-gu asserts that Nobleman Go is innocent. Gojong knows this and explains that he imprisoned his own teacher because he believed Nobleman Go would be safer in the Joseon prison. Upon their arrival in Joseon, the first place the Japanese forces targeted was the home of the emperor’s teacher, and Gojong responded to this warning from Japan by protecting his teacher.

Emperor Gojong says that the people’s rage will spread like wildfire, but it will have more power than the emperor’s rage. He asserts his trust in the power of the people, who have been provoked by Gojong imprisoning his own teacher. Woah, I just got chills.

The businessowners throughout Hanseong put up posters to refuse Japanese currency, and without Dong-mae, there is no one to enforce the rules of the streets. The Japanese people gather at the embassy with complaints, and Takashi decides that he’ll be interrogating the American instructor further.

Takashi interrogates the American instructor, Stella, at the hotel, and invites Eugene to join them. Takashi accuses Stella of demonstrating anti-Japanese sentiments to her students, but Stella clarifies to Eugene that she only taught that Japan is no better than any other country for their faster modernization. She claims that she taught that Joseon is in control of their own sovereignty, and Eugene finds nothing wrong with her instruction.

Takashi disagrees and says that Stella is overstepping her role as an American missionary. He says that she has no place antagonizing another country and insults her religion by saying that Moses parted the Red Sea but merely watched the war unfold. Eugene tells Takashi that he just made a grave mistake and says that he can’t go to heaven anymore. Takashi laughs and releases Stella so that he can claim that promised drink from Eugene. But Eugene says he has plans and escorts Stella out.

Eugene brings food for Ae-shin and her maid to the embassy, and he tells her that Grandfather is safe at the palace prison. He figures that the emperor imprisoned Grandfather to protect him, and Ae-shin notes that both her and Grandfather need to be locked up for protection. Despite being trapped in the embassy all day, Ae-shin says that she enjoyed playing with all the interesting trinkets in the room, including the globe and the matryoshka toy left in Joseph’s belongings. Eugene happily watches Ae-shin marvel at the matryoshka and tells her that she’s free to leave by the next day.

When Eugene arrives at the military academy the next day, he notices baduk stones on the ground. He asks a soldier if anyone was practicing last night, and the soldier proudly reports that a group of trainees asked to practice, so he gave them the key to the storage room. Eugene asks to check the key, and he realizes that these trainees might be up to no good.

As Hotaru reads the tarot cards by Dong-mae’s bedside, he wakes up and weakly hold her hand. Hatoru rings the bell, and the gang rushes in as Dong-mae opens his eyes. He tells Yujo that the culprit was that merchant, who we know as Sang-mok of the Righteous Army. Dong-mae’s gang run through the streets searching for Sang-mok, and as the curfew bell rings, we see Sang-mok escape, disguised as a Joseon policeman.

At the pawnshop, Hee-sung shows off his newspaper sign, a white flower which Hee-sung poetically claims was the only flower that bloomed along his path. Eugene asks Hee-sung if he’s heard of Takashi Mori from Japan, and Hee-sung shares that the Mori family is most influential family after the emperor. Hee-sung says that the Mori family is reputed as a conservative lineage that dangerously argues that the colonial invasion of Joseon will restore order in Japan. Considering Takashi’s first move in Joseon, Eugene believes that he belongs to this family.

At the Jemulpo harbor, Hayashi leaves for Japan and promises Takashi to return with an expensive document: the Japan-Korea Treaty (which gets signed in 1904). Takashi vows to sign the document with the blood of the Joseon people.

Takashi meets with Wan-ik, who admits his falling out with Hayashi. He proposes that they work together in a more compatible manner and assures Takashi that the Joseon people are easy to handle: Give them enough food and a candy, and they’ll kneel and crawl on their own. Takashi surprises Wan-ik by speaking in Korean and tells Wan-ik that he lacks the sincerity to sell his country. He tells Wan-ik that Joseon survived all this turmoil because a few people risked their lives to save it. He’s referring to the Righteous Army, who have continued their lineage of Righteous Army members for generations.

Wan-ik dismisses the power of the Righteous Army, claiming that he would be dead already if they had any legitimate presence. But Takashi considers Wan-ik’s survival the key reason for the Righteous Army’s success. Instead of relieving their anger by immediately killing Wan-ik, the Righteous Army forsee the resulting losses of their actions and strategize accordingly. Takashi does not intend on suffering the same losses as his ancestors and knows that the Righteous Army will once again cause trouble by risking their lives when Hayashi returns with the Japan-Korea treaty.

Threatened by the Righteous Army, Takashi informs Wan-ik on his next step to destroy the spirit of Joseon. Takashi tells Wan-ik to stay out of his way and not use banmal because he hates people who lack manners, especially if they’re from Joseon.

As Wan-ik leaves this meeting, he realizes that Nobleman Go is the spirit of Joseon that he needs to destroy and heads to the palace to meet with the emperor. Wan-ik requests that Emperor Gojong release Nobleman Go, considering his old age and the brewing rage of the Joseon people that could overwhelm them. Emperor Gojong welcomes this request and orders Seung-gu to release their prisoner.

Wan-ik’s royal guard informant worries that they’re prematurely releasing Nobleman Go, but Wan-ik asserts that Nobleman Go cannot die inside the palace walls. Wan-ik says that Nobleman Go must die in his hands — not in the hands of Japan — to make him the subject of fear to the Joseon people. He watches Seung-gu head toward the jail to release Nobleman Go and wonders who that new head of palace security is. The informant says that he’s another appointment by Minister Lee and sneers that he was a lowly gunner. Wan-ik says that he’s never seen this man, but we know that Seung-gu was responsible for Wan-ik’s limp.

Seung-gu escorts Grandfather home, where Ae-shin holds in her tears after seeing her grandfather’s weak state. Her maids tearfully prepare medicine for Grandfather while Ae-shin meets with Seung-gu. She comments on his short hair and new uniform, and Seung-gu says that his head feels heavy despite cutting off all his hair. He tells Ae-shin that he cleared their hideout before entering the palace and tells her not to visit the hideout anymore. Ae-shin says that she’ll still visit, but he says that he has nothing left to teach her.

Speaking formally to Ae-shin, Seung-gu tell her not to let him stop her anymore and to do as she wishes. He thanks her for enduring such a blunt teacher and releases her from his instruction. He says that he’s found another path and asks for her blessing. Ae-shin thanks Seung-gu and bows to him, wishing him a safe road ahead. Seung-gu bows to Ae-shin, in a final parting gesture between teacher and student.

At the hotel, Hina reads the newspaper over Takashi’s shoulder as she pours his coffee. The headlines warn about the deployment of Japanese soldiers leading to the invasion of Joseon. Takashi asks how many newspapers there are in Joseon, and Hina responds that there are two main ones and one small one without a name. Takashi knows that this small newspaper is run by Hee-sung, and he comments on how it must be difficult for Hina to run this hotel on her own. Hina plays the role of a distressed widow overwhelmed by the hotel business, but Takashi sees right through her act.

Hina notes that Takashi must have investigated her, and he reveals that he couldn’t find any information on her family in Joseon. He calls her shameless for running this extravagant hotel thanks to her Japanese husband and erasing her Joseon past, but Hina isn’t fazed by his criticisms. She comments that his investigation must have reached a dead end there, and she wonders if she’s that skilled or Takashi is just incompetent. Later in her room, Hina paces anxiously at the prospect of a new enemy on her tail. She digs through her jewelry box to fish out a folded piece of paper that holds a white powder, supposedly poison.

Ae-shin and her maid climb to their hideout to clean up the space, but they find an army of Joseon soldiers there with Duk-moon and Wan-ik. Ae-shin greets her brother-in-law but turns away when she’s introduced to Wan-ik. She speaks to Wan-ik through her maid, and Wan-ik takes offense that she’s belittling him because he was born into a low social class. Ae-shin sticks to her act and explains that she doesn’t mean to be rude and that she’s just following the law. Her rude and haughty behavior compels Wan-ik to leave, but we know that the true reason for her behavior is because Wan-ik is a traitor.

As Wan-ik leaves, he looks back at Ae-shin and remembers Takashi’s claims about the Righteous Army lineage. He asks Duk-moon how old Ae-shin is (around 27), and he later ponders that Ae-shin’s age would align with the age of a child of the Righteous Army members he killed in Japan. He jumps up from his seat and wonders if the traitor Kim Yong-joo lied about the names of the Righteous Army members. He summons the police chief and orders him to compile a list of all the Joseon people who lived in Tokyo, dead and alive.

Yujo updates Dong-mae on their search for Sang-mok, who has yet to be found. Dong-mae weakly walks around in his hospital room and orders Yujo to spread word about Dong-mae’s survival, which would likely bring Sang-mok out of hiding. He also orders Yujo to take Hotaru out to eat. As Yujo leaves, Hee-sung enters to check in on Dong-mae on his way to a meeting. He expresses relief to see Dong-mae recovering, but Dong-mae doesn’t believe him. He says that he’s still pondering if he should slice Hee-sung horizontally or vertically. It’s nice to see that Dong-mae is strong enough to want to kill jolly Hee-sung again.

Hee-sung heads to his meeting with none other than Takashi, who’s looking for a newspaper that will write favorably about Japan. He knows that Hee-sung doesn’t even have a sign for his newspaper and offers to invest in his newspaper. Hee-sung laughs and says that Takashi hasn’t done his research. First off, he claims to have the most beautiful sign in Joseon (not wrong), and next, he informs Takashi that he comes from the richest family in Hanseong after the emperor.

Irritated by Hee-sung’s boasting, Takashi takes out his gun and resorts to threatening Hee-sung, but that doesn’t work either. Hee-sung says that Takashi has nothing to gain from killing him and continues to drink with ease. Hee-sung suggests that they call in the ladies, and Takashi looks annoyed by Hee-sung’s distracting frivolity.

Ae-shin searches her closet for the music box, but it’s nowhere to be found. The Japanese interpreter visits Ae-shin to inform her that Takashi wishes to meet with her to return an item that a Japanese soldier stole from her room. Ae-shin claims that she didn’t lose anything, and if she did, she wants Takashi to send the thief directly to her to return this item instead of summoning her. When the interpreter leaves, Ae-shin tells her maid that she’s headed to the medicine shop.

The police chief receives the telegram from the Tokyo police station with information on Joseon natives who lived in Tokyo, and he delivers this information to Dong-mae instead of Wan-ik. Dong-mae reads through the list and recognizes the names of Ae-shin’s parents. Dong-mae smiles at the trembling police chief and the post office manager, and he reminds them to continue to come to him instead of Wan-ik.

At the military academy, Eugene asks if anyone didn’t drop their stone during practice, and Joon-young raises his hand. Eguene commends his hard work during late night practice, but he doesn’t grant Joon-young any privileges in practicing with a loaded gun. One of the trainees asks how Eugene, a Joseon person, became an American, and Eugene honestly responds that it was because he was from a low class. Laughing, Eugene says that military is divided by rank and not social status, and he tells the trainees that they’re free to leave if they can’t accept him as their instructor.

When Takashi enters the academy, Eugene dismisses the confused class to address this unwanted guest. Takashi invites Eugene out for coffee at the hotel, and Eugene maintains his cold and insulting demeanor. Eugene pointedly comments that he instructs the trainees to be fearless against their enemy, who could be more foolish than they think. He heads up to his hotel room, but he stops when he hears a familiar tune.

Takashi plays the music box and approaches Eugene with this item. He says that his Japanese soldier stole this from Ae-shin’s room, but he knows that this item originally belonged to Eugene. Ohhh yikes.

Dong-mae and his gang stand in front of Ae-shin’s carriage, and he orders his lackeys to drag her servants away. Dong-mae opens the carriage and holds out his hand, but Ae-shin exits the carriage on her own. He asks to know where she’s going and says that he’s giving her one last chance. Dong-mae asks why she always makes dangerous choices, like breaking her engagement and holding a gun. He tells her to do nothing — don’t go to school, don’t learn English, don’t go to the palace, don’t ask any questions.

Ae-shin accuses him of overstepping his boundaries and claims that she doesn’t regret of her choices, including saving Dong-mae and getting shot by Dong-mae. She asks if he feels entitled because he knows her secret, and Dong-mae responds that he plans on using that entitlement going forward He doesn’t care if the world or even if Ae-shin becomes his enemy. He walks up to Ae-shin and uses his sword to slice off her braid in public. She looks shocked, and Dong-mae looks at her with tears brimming his eyes.

 
COMMENTS

That’s an interesting place to leave us, without further explanation and only context to contemplate the meaning of Dong-mae’s act. While I don’t fully comprehend the significance of Ae-shin’s hair being cut, I know that Ae-shin’s hair symbolizes tradition and status. I can only presume that cutting one’s hair represents indecency and a breach in tradition. Knowing Dong-mae, this was an act to protect Ae-shin, and from the context of the conversation, it seems that he committed to this impudent act to prevent Ae-shin from making any more dangerous choices. Not sure how the consequences will manifest, but I’m a fan of this change for Ae-shin. She’s been hiding behind her nobility long enough, and I hope brings about the necessary change to spur her into action.

Speaking of Dong-mae, thank goodness he’s alive! I probably won’t be ready to let him go when his time comes, but it was definitely not time for him to bid farewell in the previous episode. I’m glad he survived the attack, and it was once again heartwarming to see how many characters rallied for him to keep him alive. His relationship with Ae-shin will definitely be redefined after cutting her hair, but I think it would be nice to see a different relationship between the two. But honestly, whether we get more of adorable crushing Dong-mae or merciless assassin Dong-mae, I’m just glad he lives to see another day. Not today, Satan!

Takashi is truly The Bad Guy, but I welcome his assertive antagonism to the story because Wan-ik was not bringing it. Turns out, Wan-ik is more of a selfish dude, and I’m not entirely sure he’s the villain we need to spark this resistance. Takashi is that spark, and I’m ready for him to pierce through all the bullshit and push all the Righteous Army’s buttons. I found Takashi’s use of language in his episode quite interesting, as an intentional tool to establish a power dynamic. I noticed that Takashi mainly used Korean to assert his dominance as a Japanese colonizer who could speak in the tongue of the Joseon people. He also spoke to Wan-ik in Korean, with a similar intention to dominate the conversation in Wan-ik’s native tongue. But when he spoke to Hee-sung, he chose to speak in Japanese because he wanted to establish a sense of equality between the two. He rarely chose to speak in English, so when he saw that Ae-shin spoke to the American soldiers in English, I presume that he felt threatened. (As a sidenote, Takashi’s English is truly indecipherable, and it’s a good thing we have captions.)

Along with Takashi’s necessary spark, I’m finding assurance in Gojong’s strategic movements. Gojong’s trust in the power of the people was the first time I really got chills in this series, and I was relieved by his sensibility and innate goodness. I feel like we’re reaping the fruits of our patience, as we’re seeing all the political movement of pawns slowly culminate into the perfect set up for the resistance. This is the taste of the resistance I was waiting for, and I’m celebrating this as a miraculous feat for a show that felt so meandering. Better late than never, eh?

 
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Thank you for the excellent recaps, dramallama. I was hoping to understand why Dong ma cut Ae Shins hair like that....I love your suggestion that it represents tradition, and that he is helping to release her from it!

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I also wondered about that. Given the Chosun and Confucian belief that keeping all your hair was a sign of devotion to your parents and your ancestors, Dong Mae cutting it, I was like, wow!

I don't really believe it was a symbol of her nobility, as even Eugene had kept all his hair until he was about 15 and joined the military, That scene where he cut his braid and cast it into the water, to become an American, was so sad, because he was honoring his parents who'd given up their lives for him.

I'm sure it meant something like that for Ae-shin, who desperately wishes she could see her parents again, if even in a dream. Maybe by Dong Mae cutting her hair, he was severing her from her past, but in a way that took the sin onto himself, instead of with her.

Besides the religious or cultural meaning, I also felt that Ae-shin with shorter hair could blend in better with the pro Japanese / pro Western women of Chosun, as she went about her missions. But who knows. I believe that Eugene who is that calculating, wouldn't dare to cut her hair. And Dong Mae who would do anything to protect her, isn't that calculating...

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Maybe he did it to shame her as well (and keep her locked up, and from doing dangerous things).

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There does seem to be an element of him trying to control her.

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This seems to be the most logical answer especially since he told her to do nothing

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I would like to raise the question of Ae Shin's hair, Dong Mae and his sword technique. Just how did he slice off her braid? Did he slip the sword between her back and the braid and cut outwards? That was some slick move (if even possible).

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Yes, it is called the Outward Slice. Hold the braid between the back of the neck and the braid. Slice outward in one swift motion, like slicing sashimi. Make sure the blade is sharp. Slice outward, not inward, or you could end up slicing off your fingers, instead of the braid.

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Slice outward, not inward, or you could end up slicing off . . . the girl's butt, in addition to your fingers and the braid.

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Not the butt please 😂😂😂

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I just had to drop by and check out what @miracle23 is replying to......

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@mary I really wanna write something about ep 18 but my body was so exhausted for the past few days, so there was nothing much I can write except enjoying the reviews of others, most of which echoed my thoughts, and commenting a bit here and there. By the way, I have landed in Seoul! Bwahaha.... how I wish I can get some sleep 😂

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@miracle23 ohhhhhmg get out! You're really there, how fun! I feel so bad for you being tired. Drink lots of water and not too much coffee and enjoy the sights! Wheeeee!

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@miracle23 aww I'm sorry to hear you're exhausted and jealous to hear you're in SK right now. Sorry, I wasn't scolding you or anything. I was just curious when you said "Not the butt please" and I thought "LOL what are the beanies up to again?"

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@mary, @YY is such a delight, me and @bbstl got to play along..hehe.. I will post some goodies at my fanwall. Thank you for the good wishes ladies!

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@dramallama, I love your reviews, but I had to stop in the middle to comment on Go Sa-hong and the scholars getting arrested. I believe it was the Chosun guardsmen who arrested them, not the Japanese soldiers. I went back and looked at the frames and noticed that the Japanese in the Glory Hotel were all wearing hats with yellow bands, while the Chosun guards wore hats with the dark red bands.

My daughter and I had this discussion a couple weeks ago, because for the life of me I couldn't tell them apart. We finally agreed that one's uniform was blue and red, while the other was black and red, but I couldn't even confirm that.

One thing that struck me in that scene, was how gently the guards were treating all the scholars, even though they were arresting them. I saw two guardsmen lifting grandpa under his shoulders, slowly, as if they were helping him up, and even the younger scholars were all being lifted up, not being dragged along. It struck me as being a strangely gentle scene.

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Yes, I agree it was the palace soldiers (Joseon) that arrested the scholars.

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I noticed that too - the guards were very gentle with the scholars. I don't think they liked arresting them.

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It was almost like they were helping their grandfathers and uncles get up from the floor.

Maybe I'm overdoing it but I can't help it. This series makes me sentimental

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I loved the line about Seung-gu with the deathly glare. It's true, if I saw someone like that, no way I'd want him working for me, even just to get me coffee.

One thing that made me almost spill my own coffee with Seung-gu, was how feral he looked in front of the king. Even with the shave and the haircut, he looked like he absolutely hated being in that uniform. The only thing I could think of was, 'he really does look like a wild boar.' Even in front of Ae-shin, when they both bowed to each other, which was a wonderful, emotional scene, I couldn't shake that wild boar image.

It made that line that Ae-shin said, that she'd believe him even if he said he'd gotten in a fight with a wild boar over a woman, even funnier.

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Hah. I love you for ending the recap with that cheeky smile of Hina, right after the phrase "Better late than never, eh?"

So much hair issues!
And this one is my favourite!
"Seung-gu says that his head feels heavy despite cutting off all his hair. "
Wow, that line holds SO much nuance.
On Ae-shin, gosh it must've been embarrassing! I feel for her as a person who has gone through a hair apocalypse (Though it's totally different,heh).

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One final comment and then I'll shut up. I absolutely loved the lunch between Takashi and Hui-sung. It looked to me like a ridiculously high-powered take-down between two high-school cafeteria kings.

Here we have Hui-sung, the richest non-king man in Korea, squaring off against Takashi, the richest non-king man in Japan, all smiles and laughter. All Hui-sung's shots against Takashi were delivered with a smile. "Come and see it!" he yells, pointing his finger right in Takashi's face, then laughs. "Oh dear, your research fell short, how embaressing." Even when Takashi pulled his gun and threatened his life, it was hilarious how he clicked his teeth, then took out his glasses, and then laughed in his face.

My favorite part was when he said, "I have a question. The women here are so beautiful, why haven't you called them in? Oh you're shy? I understand. I'll call them in for you." And then he yelled his own name right in his face. And when he glugged that whole bottle of saki and crunched on that nut with his mouth open and a smile, that was an f-you crunch if I ever saw one.

Oh Hui-sung, I can't hate you if I love you.

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Hui-sung was so amazing in that scene.

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At first I didn't trust him because he seemed too good to be true (Like Eugene, why are you always smiling?), But now he's too bad to be true and I just love him.

I loved how he was trying to help Eugene and wound up hitting his hand with the cut-down staff, and how even helping Dong Mae he was a little clueless. Even when he visited Dong Mae he was still the pesky kid brother. 'ah you were cutting people in half and that's why you got shot... wait, you were stealing? how can you say that? you know I just broke up with my fiance."

And my own personal favorite, "You're so sweet when you're asleep." Then the friendly slap to the injured shoulder.

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He is such a joker. The mangnae between the three. I am loving his antics too! It is like EC is all proper older brother, DM the brutal no nonsense second brother who both let the youngest go berserk with whatever he wants to do. Ahhh, siblings!

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ROFL

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@miracle23, my daughter said the way you described them they sound like the power puff girls!

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"Richest non-king man in Korea" lmao!
That whole scene was a thing of such beauty. I especially appreciated the teeth clicking as I do that to stall for time when I'm thinking 😁
@grumpyoldman, your comments are so funny, glad you found us!

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I'm glad I found you guys too. I read in the first few recaps comments like "where's the funny?" but there've been things that have just had me rolling. Even Do-mi flirting with Ae-shin, or the two of them teaming up on Eugene, or Ms Haman holding out for 3 bowls of noodles had me laughing.

My favorite of that episode was Ms. Haman going, "Eugene Choi, Eugene Choi, Eugene Choi." Ae-Shin was so mortified. It made me think Ae-shin wrote this:

Eugene Choi, Eugene Choi, Eugene Choi, Ae-shin Choi.
2 gether 4 ever. Nothing but love songs.

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And Kyle's reaction to that, and Eugene loving it. It threw me back to junior high in an instant ☺️

What else have you watched so far? I think you'd really like Goblin.

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I'm gonna try that next. It's really hard to find in America, but Amazon markets this channel called DramaFever, so I guess that's where I'm headed.

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Thanks for the FAST recap! I loved this episode - but I don't know who I loved more - Hina and her badassinyourface to the Japanese soldiers, or Hee Sung totally insulting the Japanese general over dinner.
These two are really stealing the show for me.
I too am curious about the significance of hair in the Joseon era. The scholars let their hair down when they were protesting - so I wondered if their hair was something significant to their status.
Then when Dong Mae cut off Ae Shin's hair I was very curious. All I've been able to find at this point was women who were unmarried and innocent wore their hair down their backs in a braid. So did he cut her hair as a sign to step out of her comfort and protection as a young unmarried woman like Dramallama suggested?
Can't wait for the weekend to find out what this means!

hmmm - can't wait for next week!

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It would be lovely if KES would publish the original story arc, before the rewrites, as fan service ...

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You must be really a huge fan of You Yoen Soek, dramallama..
I always read drama recap here. But this is the first time i see the recaper didn't point out about male actor harass the female actress, though the reason is to protect her..hehe.
I love the recap anyway..

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I really enjoyed this episode. So much action , it seems the pieces are finally coming together

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Next episode

1. Ae Shin is so mad she grabs the sword, and slices off Dong Mae's hair, who becomes bald, save for his pony tail.

2. Dong Mae attaches Ae Shin's braid to his pony tail.

3. The tarot card reader faints when she sees Dong Mae walk in with his braided pony tail that reaches down to his butt.

4. Dong Mae goes to the bar, and Eugene sees his new look, and says, "I have a secret," and pulls off his hair. It is a wig, and Eugene tells Dong Mae he started losing his hair at 28, and by the time he reached 30, he had lost all his hair. That's the reason it's always oiled, to keep it heavy, so that it won't blow off in a breeze.

5. Dong Mae slices Eugene's wig further and sticks it on the back of his head so that the braided pony tail won't look so out of place.

6. Ae Shin walks in, and screams at the sight of bald Eugene, and her braid on Dong Mae's hair.

7. "Now you'll always be on my head," says Dong Mae.

8. Ae Shin faints.

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Such insight!
💕 💕 💕

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Of course you will be doing a cameo? As the scissors?
I know that your wit is sharp enough for the role...

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You're the best!

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Oh my gawd, the hairy blues! The sword, you should be sword and the perfectly, permanent cameo attached to that glorious waist!!!😎😎 when is he gonna cut HS's hair? *rubbing hands with glee*

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This is the content I come here for

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Voting for #1. Ae-shin snapped.

Don't play around with this femme fatale. She also know how to wield a samurai sword. She's a quick learner.

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I always come here in DB's Mr Sunshine recaps to read your future-caps of the next episodes content. So insightful.

That one time you made a future-caps of EC x AS playing hide and seek, and then in the next real episode EC suggest fishing when asked what's next, I was howling seeing that scene because I was reminded of your future-caps.

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Hina is so badass, I love her 💖
Dong Mae survives, and that’s all that matter 😬
Hae Sung doesn’t bow down to Takashi, and I love him even more.
If the story follow the history, then the Japanese occupation will occur and our characters will have sad ending. Somehow I wish it would not follow the course of history and give us something else entirely. It would be hard to do so though..

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Something else on the subject of hair, specifically topknots, from Mrs. Underwood's book "Fifteen Years Among the Topknots". The period she refers to is approx 1894-5.

"Many of the most revered, common, and firmly settled of the customs and superstitions of the people of Korea are, as it were, woven, braided, coiled and pinned into their top-knots, on which, like a hairy keystone, seem to hang, and round which are centered society, religion and politics. The pigtail of China is nothing like as important, for it is really a mark of servitude, or was such in its origin, a badge laid on the conquered by the conquering race. But not so the top-knot, which is many centuries old, and which, according to ancient histories, pictures, pottery and embroideries, goes as far back as the existence of the nation. When a boy becomes engaged, or is on the point of being married, a solemn ceremony is performed. In the presence of proper witnesses, and at the hands of proper functionaries (among whom are astrologers or soothsayers), the hair, which has hitherto been parted like a girl’s and worn in a long braid down the back, is shaved from a small circular spot on the top of his head, and the remaining long locks combed smoothly upward, and tied very tightly over the shaved place. They are then twisted and coiled into a small compact knot, between two and three inches high and about one in diameter. An amber, coral, silver, or even gold or jewelled pin is usually fastened through it. The Mangan, a band of net, bound with ribbon, is then fastened on round the head below the top-knot and above the ears, holding all stray hairs neatly in place (when a man obtains rank a small open horse-hair cap is placed over the top-knot), and over all the hat, which (being also of open work, bamboo splints, silk or horsehair) permits it to be seen. Fine new clothes are then donned, especially a long coat, and the boy has become a man! A feast is made, and he goes forth to call upon and be congratulated by his father’s friends. Either on that day or the following he is married, although, as has been said, some boys have their hair put up when they become engaged. No matter how old one is, without a top-knot he is never considered a man, addressed with high endings, or treated with respect. After assuming the top-knot, no matter how young, he is invested with the dignities and duties of a man of the family, takes his share in making the offerings and prayers at the ancestral shrines, and is recognized by his ancestors’ spirits as one of the family who is to do them honor, and whom they are to protect and bless. And right here, to digress a little, it is interesting to note that so intimately is this custom concerned with their religion that many of the Christian converts are now cutting off their top-knots when they become converted, regarding that as the one step (after destroying their idols) which most effectually cuts off the old life and its superstitions, and marks...

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That's really interesting. What does it say about the women, and the differences between having their hair braided and hanging down, like Ae-Sin, or coiled in an ornate bun like Lady Cho and Lady Hun? Lady Hun by the way, I think has just stupendous hair. It seems to be doubly coiled.

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The book doesn't address those specifics about women's hair. We know that a young woman wears her hair in a hanging braid until she is married, when she puts it up into the sort of bun-with-coiled-braid arrangement. The book does mention the hair of Palace attendants which is supplemented with extensive hairpieces and wigs called Gache wigsn:
"A few days after my arrival in Seoul a messenger came from the queen, to bid me welcome, and inquire if I had had a pleasant journey, and shortly after Mrs. Heron asked some of the queen’s attendants to meet me at luncheon. These women are not, as in other courts, ladies of high rank, for such could never, under Korean customs, endure the publicity of the palace, but are taken as children and young girls from the middle and lower classes, and entirely separated from all others, to the service of their majesties. They usually hold no rank, and are treated with respect, only on account of their relations to the royal family. They wear on all state occasions immense quantities of false hair, which gives them a peculiarly grotesque appearance; are much powdered and perfumed, with pencilled and shaven eyebrows; wear long flowing silken robes, gilded ornaments in their hair and at their waists"

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Thank you for that interesting bit of history. I wonder who started shaving the spot bald then putting the topknot over it.
History and traditions are always so interesting, aren't they?

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Right, how do these things get started? Because one tribe leader was balding and created the first major combover? I wonder, too.

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Oops, should never post something long and then go to bed assuming it all fit. To continue,
"...them as having come out from their family and acquaintances as men set apart. They have begun doing this quite of their own accord, with no suggestion from the missionaries, and in some cases in opposition to the advice of some of us, who dislike to see them laying aside old customs needlessly. But it is growing more and more general among new believers to sacrifice this dear object of pride and veneration, and one young fellow told my husband it was impossible to break away from his old evil associates until he cut his hair. They then believed he was in earnest and let him alone. But it costs much, and in these cases is done quite voluntarily, not in forced obedience to the mandates of conquerors and traitors, which is a very different matter. Again, far down in the social scale, lower than the boy with the pigtail, whom every one snubs, ranking next to the despised butcher, who daily defiles his hands with blood and gore, and with the touch of dead bodies, is the Buddhist priest who wears his hair shaved, a creature so low, that he was not at that time allowed to defile the capital city by entering its gates. To this grade were all the sons of Korea now to be reduced. Tender associations of early manhood, honored family traditions, ghostly superstition, the anger and disgust of ancestral spirits, the iron grip of long custom, the loathing of the effeminate, sensual and despised Buddhist priests, all forbade this desecration. Their pride, self-respect and dignity were all assailed and crushed under foot. Sullen angry faces were seen everywhere, sounds of wailing and woe were heard continually in every house, for the women took it even harder than the men. Farmers and carriers of food and fuel refused to bring their produce to market, for guards stood at the gates, and cut off with their swords every top-knot as it came through. Men were stationed also in all the principal streets, cutting off every top-knot that passed, and all public officials and soldiers were at once shaved. There was a voice heard, lamentation and mourning and great weeping. It was a cruel blow at personal liberty, which Anglo-Saxons would die rather than suffer, and which the helplessness of this weak nation made the more pitiful and inexcusable. It was struck shrewdly too, at one of the specially distinguishing marks of Koreans, setting them apart from Japanese and Chinese, designed, we could not help thinking, as one of the first and important parts of a scheme to blot out Korea’s national identity, and merge her into one with Japan; but if this was the intention, never was anything more mistakenly planned. It was hotly resented to the very heart of the country, and added still deeper dye and bitter flavor to the long-nourished hatred Koreans felt for their ancient conqueror and foe. As for us (some of us), we put ourselves in the Korean’s place, recalled our national...

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Still not enough room, sorry. Part 3:
"... experience and harbored numbers of Koreans on our place, protecting them from the knife as long as possible. The cup of iniquity was nearly full. The queen, looked upon as the mother of her people, had been murdered, the king virtually imprisoned, the country ruled by the dictum of conspirators and tools of her conquerors, and now this last blow at every family in the nation was too much. A deep spirit of anger and revolt stirred the whole country; yet they had no leaders, no arms, no organization and knew not what to do, a poor down-trodden simple folk, who knew not on whom to lean for help, and who had not learned to cry to him who hears, defends and takes up the cause of the poor and needy.

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What a gem of a book you have here.

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It's so great, I had to read it at one sitting! (I skipped over all the details about missionary stuff.) I think everyone who's enjoying Mr Sunshine would love reading it, it's as exciting as any kdrama.
It's also available for free on kindle.

"Fifteen Years Among the Topknots; or, Life in Korea" by Lillias H. Underwood
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/50609?msg=welcome_stranger#CHAPTER_XVII

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Takashi is a very formidable enemy. He is cunning and can see right through anyone and any situation. He is a soldier and driven by the political laws of his country. His position is also powerful as he comes from the family who is 2nd to only the royal family (as mentioned by Hee-Sung). Compared to him Wan-Ik is just a selfish and silly man. I am looking forward to what he will unleash in the country now.

Who is this actor, by the way? His acting is awesome!!

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When Ae-SHin did save Dong Mae ? And when did he save her ? I mean she helped the fortune teller but she didn't really have a direct action on saving him. It was Eugene and Hina. I don't remember her mentionning him to be in prison or to be shot. And he didn't save her, he chose to not kill her and to keep her secret, it's not really the same...

It's weird the Wan Ik never knew who he really killed in Japan. I thought he knew...

If I understand the hair are important for the status, I don't understand why it's Dong Mae who cut it, how did he think about that and why now ?

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I don't know all the answers. But, when they were children, Ae Shin saved Dong Mae from people who were chasing him by inviting him into her palanquin.

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Is Takashi based on a historical Japanese figure? I was very curious and searched everywhere to find a Japanese that fits the profile of Takashi but I have not found him. Back then only few went abroad to study and in particular to study at the Navel Academy in the States so I thought it would be easy to find him. No one who went to study in the States fit the bill.( I was searching in Japanese).

Takashi is a villain and when I saw his stare at Ae shin, I thought that he might be coming up a plan to make her presence give him a leverage to gain more power. I thought that maybe he is interested in marrying her. I wonder if that is the reason Dong mae did cut her hair so that people view her a sort of ruined thus even someone like Takashi would not touch her.

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That's really interesting. I would try to think about that and come up with an alternative theory, but as my daughter keeps telling me, my successful predictions on this series hovers around two percent.

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There were many articles about why Dong Mae cut Ae Shin's hair, and (as expected) mostly people think that it was to protect Ae Shin from danger especially now when he knows that Lee Won-ik is finding out about her parents. I saw one interesting comment. It said Dong Mae cut AS's hair in front of many Koreans. Watching the incident, they would think a Japanese did some outrageous thing to a noble lady- which might make Dong Mae people's enemy, but they will pay attention to AS. No one would dare to harm Ae Shin since she is under public eye.

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Mastermoons on tumblr theorised something similar; basically Dong-mae very publicly humiliated her to spur backlash and outrage amongst Koreans against himself, his organisation and Japan.

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I don't think anyone would have ever touched her since she is from a noble family. That is why no one ever summoned her etc before Eugene did because no one dared to.

Cutting the hair means breaking tradition, breaking away from your parents. I think he cut her hair to prevent LWI to suspect her to be part of the RA. This way he might be led to believe that she choose to break with Joseon's tradition, ergo she is not someone that would risk her life for Joseon.

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I love how the story progresses but what caught my attention was how calm Dongmae is with Hotaru and how Huiseong is getting more
and more serious. Dongmae has been violent with everyone even with Aeshin. However, he does seem to control himself in front of Hotaru which I personally love. I hope they end up together. Secondly, it feels like Huiseong is going to be more useful. Considering how important press is in propaganda, he might become a crucial asset. I loved his meeting with Mori as it showed their power dynamics and it established a relationship between the two. Both Hotaru and Huiseong might offer more than we think.

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No real surprises here. Eugene and Ae-shin continue to be one of the most boring couples in dramaland. While the secondary characters keep bringing us the drama and feels. Frankly if they killed off Eugene next episode it wouldn't bother me. I cannot get warm and fuzzy about him. Maybe it's because in true Lee Byun hun style he plays him so cold, or maybe the right word is stoic. I think that kind of character had a real place in is trajectory as an actor. If you've never seen A Bittersweet LIfe then you'll understand. Still the two younger males in this drama are stealing every scene from him and just making him look like a boring old guy.

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I do actually like them lol
I find myself smiling during their interactions.
I think Eugene will show his warrior side now that his frenemy is here.

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I totally disagree with you. I get absolutely no feels from either Dongmae or Hui seong (or whatever his name is).

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Well that means the drama has a little something for everyone. I actually don't get any "feels" from any of the guys this time around, not with Ae shin anyway. She doesn't have a lot of chemistry with any of the men in my opinion. Do I dislike her acting? I can't say I do. I just think there's that spark that's required and it's missing with her and all three men. Otherwise I think she is exquisitely beautiful in all her costumes. I love the timbre of her voice. There was something way to restrained about the lead relationship for it to be compelling.

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That's just it. I don't get the feels either. And I don't think the drama really needs heavy romance to succeed. This is why I don't understand the author's intent to make it such a love story where three men supposedly dote on her, love her and worship and protect her except as a metaphor.

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One of the best shows I watch, waiting for the
next episode.

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As a Korean, I know that how much the hair was important for every citizens at Joseon. Nowadays, we really don't care rather someone dyed their hair, or etc., but at the time in Joseon, the hair symbolized the 'hyo', meaning the filial love for parents, which is one of the most important aspect that people treated in that time. I could say that Joseon was made up by the Confucian ideologies, hence, no one can't imagine, especially the noble unmarried woman to cut her hair.

It is definitely blasphemous, and shameful for Ae Shin that Dong mae cut her hair. How should I have to say..... It is like someone suddenly shave your head and even your eyebrows in the middle of the street (OMG what am I talking right now).... IDK but the point is cutting hair is the thing that couldn't be happening especially for Ae-shin, who is the noble woman. Seems like the "modernized" guys cutted their hair, but most of the males also didn't cut their hair.

I believe Dong-mae cut her hair to keep her in her house, to keep her away from the dangerous situation. Dong-mae knew that Wan-ik will soon finds Ae-shin is the child of Righteous Army member, and he tried to protect her in his own way.

While Gojong and Eugene "imprisoned" their people to protect, Dong-mae cut Ae-shin's hair since he doesn't really has governmental authority to keep Ae-shin in captivity. Thus I think he cutted her hair to be entangled in scandal instead of Ae-shin, who just broke the engagement with Hee sung. Since almost every people in the streets saw the incident, they will keep look at their precious lady, Ae-shin to protect from further conflicts. Hence, even if Wan-ik finds out that Ae-shin is the child of the Righteous army, it would be not easy for him to do something to Ae-shin because there will lots of eyes watching her. Ae-shin can be the complete victim and cover up her scandal, and it will also keeps Ae-shin to move - holding a gun.

However, as Dong-mae predicted, I think Ae-shin definitely not like this incident at all. Dong-mae knew that from the start, but he still take action to protect her in his own way. I can understand how these two characters in opposite sides, even though my heart is more into Dong-mae who is completely idiot, doing something that her lady will despise.

Whoa, that was very long. I hope you guys understand how the "hair" was so valuable and important at Joseon era.

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oh no did I just said "her lady" at the end??? It's "his lady"..... I was the idiot, not Dong-mae TT

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Don't worry. We understand.

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No you're not an idiot! That's just a simple mistake. All of us here do such mistakes too, me especially since English isn't my first language. Your explanation was well written and help us a lot! Thank you! :D

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Yes, thank you very much!

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Thank you, your explanation is greatly appreciated!

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Really sorry for pointing this out but the past tense of cut is cut rather than cutted. Thought it might help you.

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Oh..... I didn't know that until now.......... he he he..... sorry if my English was bad since it's my second language TT Thank you for your advice!

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No, it's great! Again, thanks so much for helping us.

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I give you respect for working your english and putting it to practice.

My brothers and I were kids when we left South America and came to the States. Whenever we went back we'd have to refresh our Spanish and add to it to talk with our now-older cousins. My older brother would talk and talk and talk in spanish, and my oldest cousin would correct him once or twice a minute, not that nicely, and my brother would insert the correction and keep on going.

I would last for 2 or 3 corrections and then say "screw it." I knew that much english even when I was seven. But my brother improved his spanish immensely, while my cousins delighted in telling me even today, that I speak spanish as well as any other four year old.

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I hope I didn’t make you feel really bad. English is not my first language as well. And you have given such a good long explanation which I really appreciate <3

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Hello, Yurim Kim.

Thank you for your insights into Dong-mae's cutting of Ae-shin's hair.

Please give yourself a pat on the head for writing such a detailed explanation in the weird and illogical English language. I taught ESL for a couple of terms long ago. By the time I was done, I thanked my lucky stars that I had learned English as a kid. It has so many quirks I would go crazy if I had had to learn it later in life. ;-)

As a native speaker, I constantly refer to https://www.merriam-webster.com/ . If my spelling looks or feels iffy, I consult Merriam-Webster. It's a good habit to cultivate.

Here's a cheat sheet for irregular verbs that looks pretty good:

List of English Irregular Verbs
http://www.esldesk.com/vocabulary/irregular-verbs

I hope it helps. ;-)

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Thank you so much for willing to share this with us. It opens my eyes on that other possibilities of Dong Mae killing a lot of birds with his one stone (albeit it being a d*ick move from his side kinda stone), especially on the part where he'll get to divert people's attention from Ae Shin's past scandals where the commoners were gossiping on and making them stood for her. The people will rage against him, they'll pity on Ae Shin for being the victim of a ruthless Japanese yakuza, they'll forget her past scandal (of breaking off the engagement) and will stand for her. That sounds very plausible. I can't wait for the next episode, then!

And it doesn't even matter if these speculations become true or not. I think this is the beauty of having a show that we are engrossed in - it made us engaged and sharing different insights on the plot and characters. Thank you again for sharing!

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That was beautiful, and now I know a new word 'hyo,' to help me understand Korean culture of the time.

Regarding Dong Mae trying to keep Ae-shin in her home after lopping off her hair, he still doesn't know her that well. I see her being mad enough to go on a (righteous army sanctioned) killing spree after this.

Actually, I think Dong Mae still has her up on that pedestal, and has a hard time seeing her as anything other than the "silly rich noble woman" or "that great lady who saved me." Even him seeing her as a member of the Righteous Army, I think he sees her more as a kid or a naive person playing at the role, rather than someone who has seriously trained at it for years, and has already survived much danger and killed many people while doing it.

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Nice, nice, nice, loving the development that was long overdue.
Btw, Dong-mae cutting Ae-shin's hair was a HUGE thing in Joeson bc it meant that she was disrespecting her parents. Noble men/women back then considered every part of their body to be a valuable gift given by their parents, hair included. So cutting off their hair? Not so good.

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...so by inference she couldn't be a member of the Righteous Army (and therefore safe from Wan ik?!?)

Talk about devious!

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Interesting. Would that matter? Aren't they all essentially outlaws anyway? I wonder 🤔

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Random thought - could DM have cut off her hair so she can disobey her grandfather and be with Eugene?

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The pieces are finally coming together, and I saw more greatness in the writing this episode than I had previously. I love the double meaning in the flower that Hee-sung has on his unnamed newspaper plaquard. Prior to this he was talking to someone about the path he chose only having one type of flower on it, referring to Ae-sin. He says the same thing to Eugene when he mentions the flower on his sign, which I think refers to him dedicating himself to Ae-sin in this lifetime, even if she doesn’t love him. His newspaper is dedicated to the cause of the rebellion, her cause as well. Byun Yo-Han was just a standout this episode. The frustration on Mori’s face knowing that he’s been had at the tea house and not getting anywhere with Hee-sung was awesome.

Mori was also pretty amazing this episode. The confrontation he had with Eugene and the music box was positively frightening. He’s found Eugene’s weekness and you bet he’ll exploit it. I can’t wait.

And just my own 2 cents on the very last scene with Dong-Mae that I had written about on @beantown’s wall: I agree that it pained him to do what he did, just looking at the tears welling up in his eyes told me that. I think cutting her hair has something to do with soiling her honor, making her an outcast, which because he held her up on such a high pedestal would have been unthinkable for him as someone who loved her to do. However, to the witnesses there, he is just a low-life brute, unfeeling and uncaring, so it would make perfect sense for him to take her honor on that way. And that would force her indoors, away from danger. Just like the king imprisoned her grandfather to protect him, Dong-Mae is forcing her under house arrest to protect her as well.

Now, we’re getting somewhere!

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About the flowers, were they the same flowers Eugene's mother loved, that grew so plentifully in the valley where she was buried?

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Yes, it was like Mori was the adversary Hee Sung had been waiting for! HS just bloomed. That was so fun to watch. I love Byun Yo Han.

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Forgive me, I only skimmed thru the recap and comments so if I missed this, please point it out to me (lazy today, yes):
Everyone's talking about the hair, but what struck me at the end was - what's the deal with the emphasis towards the end of this episode of all three men wanting to "protect" i.e. control (what they must consider poor, helpless) Ae Shin? Some beanie mentioned a few episodes ago in the comments she hoped the three men didn't die just to "protect" Ae Shin. I agree. That's ridiculous. Let the lady have some power. I was just surprised it was emphasized so much.

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That's one thing I appreciate about Eugene. Yes, he sometimes does protective things like invite her to stay at the legation and offer protection to her grandfather's house. But he also gives her a Russian rifle and shows her how to use it. He is not completely blind to the notion that she might be able to do some things for herself. Hui Seong is showing hopeful signs, too, as evidenced by the fact that he recently ordered a suit from the tailor in her size. I think Dong Mae is still clueless.

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Exactly! Thanks, that's sort of what I really wanted to say, especially about Eugene, but wasn't sure how to word it.

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I think their means to protect her is reflective of the cultural differences?
Eugene is western influenced so less likely to force control to protect her; DM is much more asian so very domineering in how he wants to protect her

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I don't think it is necessarily a Western Influence. Eugene has been a soldier and a survivor for years, fought at least one war, travelled the world and he knows that Joseon cannot be saved which is why when he thought about leaving, he hoped she would live a little longer...His attitude is that of a practical, reasonable and understanding man, same as Lord Go the grandpa(was there for the previous war, knows politics and lost 2 sons for the sake of Joseon with no bitterness left). Both can see that her motivations come from a noble place(can't really argue against it) and see the value of dealing with it yet fear for her because they care and love her. Ultimately, they can see that she will need to be able to stand on her own.

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The relationship between DongMae and Hotaru is so lovely and genuine and soft and sweet. I would love to know that backstory; the way he treats her is so out of character that it is somehow IN character. He may want to violently end everyone else, but I don't know if there is anything Hotaru would ever do that would genuinely upset him. It's nice to see that there is indeed a true soft spot in Dong Mae's heart, and it belongs to her.

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Yes I would love to know the backstory of their relationship. Has Hotaru always been mute or is that the result of a trauma. Dongmae seems to hate rapist so I wonder if he took her in to protect her from the sexual violence poor women often suffer from in this time period. They live together so his gang probably considers her his woman.

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I think I read somewhere that the woman who plays Hotaru said they did have a backstory and that they were going to show some of it before the end of the series, which I would also love to see. But I just can't see how they'll be able to fit it in with everything that has to happen over the next six episodes.

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Yes. Kim Young Ji (the actress playing Hotaru) said there are hidden stories between Dong Mae and Hotaru and will be revealed as the story progresses. But until now, we don't see it. I wonder if it was the effect of the controversy that arose on Dong Mae's character for being a beautification of a pro-Japanese. (But at that time the controversy was raised, they have already filmed up to ep. 17 to 18 iirc, but that doesn't eliminate the fact that their scenes could be cut because of it)

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Yes, that was my worry as well. I hadn't thought about the element of the outcry, but that was huge.

Story-wise, it's a shame. They were probably beautiful little scenes.

But the history is too powerful and too painful...

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By the way, is Kim Young Ji really 43? I googled her and saw that as her age on wikipedia. I guess that was a different Kim Young Ji, but for a few moments I was astounded, and a little jealous. I thought, here was a 43 year old actress who looked like she was 22, and at my age I look like I'm a hundred and four.

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@grumpyoldman sorry, I got her name a bit wrong. It's Kim Yong Ji. No she is not 43 😂She was born in 1990. Mr. Sunshine is her first acting gig (she is a model).

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@daydreamer11, that makes me feel better, tho I still look 104.

(sad face)

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@bbstl, I'm gonna stick with what I have. As long as I look younger than dirt, by at least 6 months, I'll survive.

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every week it feels like next week will be epic, but every week they manage to diffuse all the built up tension in few seconds. their goal is just to keep interest till next week. kinda disappointed in the whole story telling. even with so many characters, they cant keep the story intriguing.

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That is a really good way to describe it!

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really liked that scene with hui seong and the japanese guy. honestly, his character has so many layers and is likeable in his own way, wish we could dive deep more into his story

also, is it weird to say but i feel like ae shin has more chemistry with dong mae than even the main lead himself???? maybe its just cuz yeon seok has such amazing chemistry with all his costars but...man, i seem to be rooting for everyone but eugene lol

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Beware of Spoilers

Part 1 of 2

Thanks for your recap, dramallama! I agree that General Mori Takashi and his cruel subordinates supply the kick in the pants the show has needed for a spell now. The way he states that he is on a mission to avenge his ancestors' dishonor during the Imjin War marks him as more than just a political power junkie, rapacious opportunist out to feather his own nest, or garden-variety rabidly-nationalistic xenophobe. He's got a grudge a mile wide to match his smug superiority complex. He practically regards Joseon's continued sovereignty as a personal affront. Mori truly creeps me out. Kim Nam-hee is turning in a nicely nuanced performance that makes me wonder if the general is a bit tetched.

Kim Eui-Sung is doing a terrific job portraying Lee Wan-icky as a truly twisted villain. He finally meets his match in Mori Takashi, and comes off as a vengeful, greedy, and power-hungry rat fink. If these two ever get on the same page, I would truly dread their potential for bringing about the Joseon Apocalypse. But from their very first meeting, it is abundantly clear that the new Japanese supreme commander in Joseon holds himself high above the Traitor-in-Chief. It infuriates Wan-icky in the most gratifying way.

Lord Go as the personification of the Spirit of Joseon is right on the money. I have been thoroughly enjoying Lee Ho-jae's portrayal of Emperor Gojong's teacher. And I have to doff my gat at the ruler's crafty way of protecting Lord Go and the scholars by arresting them. Just about everyone jumped to the conclusion that Gojong caved to Japanese pressure. I love the twist, and also the parallel with Eugene's summoning Ae-shin and her maid to the American legation to keep them out of the clutches of Wan-icky and the Japanese.

On the other hand, I am ready to tear my hair out as Lady Hardhead insists on going to the gunnery camp, only to run smack into her cousin's husband and his evil boss. Mentor Seung-gu tells her to stay away, but she knows better. Her recklessness endangers other people besides herself, and it drives me nuts. No wonder Dong-mae chops off her braid – the Confucian equivalent of belling the cat. The only problem is that I don't for one nanosecond believe that it will keep her from sashaying around in public.

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 2

Dong-mae is absolutely correct to forgo anesthesia when no-goodnik Dr. Machiyama extracts the bullets from his hide. I trust him as far as I can throw him. My favorite part of the scene of Hee-sung visiting him after he wakes up comes right after the swordsman inquires whether he wants to be bisected vertically or horizontally. He slaps him on the back (Ouch!) and tells Dong-mae how cute he looks when he's asleep. ROFLMAO. All this cringetastic bromance slays me.

Kudos to Kim Min-jung, who has been hitting it out of the ballpark with her portrayal of Hina. While watching MAN TO MAN, I had had the sensation that she was being wasted in that role, although her managerial and fangirl relationship with Dark Death was portrayed very nicely. In this show, she gets to cut loose. I love her take-no-prisoners attitude. Her duel with the oaf of a Japanese major is riveting. Even better than the swordplay is watching her verbally skewer him with her double entendre. I assure you she is not talking about his drawing a katana when she lets fly with that riposte. I also love it that she scores the first strike, and keeps her wits about her enough to wet the floor so her opponent slips and falls. With a father like Lee Wan-icky, she has learned how to play dirty. It may mean the difference between life and death in the coming episodes.

I'm still wondering what the deal is with Hotaru.

-30-

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