Mr. Sunshine: Episode 23
Grab your tissues and get ready for this emotional penultimate episode! Even as Joseon plummets into ruin, the Righteous Army perseveres and continues to grow. Though their numbers may be no match to the size of the Japanese forces, their resolve and sacrifice make them a force to be reckoned with. The momentum of the rebellion simultaneously incites hope and despair, as we see our favorite comrades run head-on into the hypothetical-but-sometimes-literal flame.
EPISODE 23 RECAP
We return to events before the hotel explosion, as we see Hina visit the pawnshop seeking an ordinary painting. Choon-shik proudly opens up a closet full of art from famous painters, except they’re all forged paintings that he copied with his artistry. When asked why she needs the painting, Hina mysteriously responds that she plans on hanging it in a dark room in hopes that someone will see it.
Then, Hina asks if they can also provide bombs for her, as she wants to destroy her hotel — the second floor of her hotel is basically the Japanese army’s headquarters. Il-shik bravely agrees to find the necessary explosives for her.
Back to the massacre of the Joseon military forces, we see Hina expertly shooting the enemy Japanese soldiers from the trolley, as well as Hee-sung capturing the atrocities with his new camera. He remains focused on taking photos until some Japanese soldiers spot him and shoot his arm. Hee-sung falls to the ground and quickly flees the scene.
While running away, Hee-sung finds Seamstress (Joon-young’s sister) frantically searching through the dead bodies for Joon-young. Hee-sung sends her home to her other younger sibling and hands her the camera, promising to find Joon-young for her. As Hee-sung walks among the corpses, he recognizes a face — the man whose land Hee-sung’s grandfather unfairly sold to buy Hee-sung his expensive pocket watch. Hee-sung remembers the man’s indignant confrontation and closes the man’s eyes to let him rest in peace. Then, the sound of the ticking clock rings louder, haunting Hee-sung once again.
Hina gives Soomi the wish-granting bracelet from the peddler and hopes that its magic will work for the young girl. She admits that the bracelet didn’t grant her wish, but she presumes that it’s because she’s committed too many sins to reap the bracelet’s benefits. Hina tells Soomi to run as far as she can from the hotel and hands her a letter to deliver as her last mission.
At night, Ae-shin enters a hotel room from the window and finds the pawnshop duo covering the room with dynamite. They stand frozen at Ae-shin’s gunpoint, and Choon-shik recognizes her from the wanted Righteous Army sketches. Ae-shin demands to know who they’re helping, and Il-shik assures her that they’re Joseon people.
Downstairs, Hina watches the Japanese soldiers boast about their massacre with great restraint, and she hears the bell ring from the third floor. When she enters the room, she’s grabbed by Ae-shin, who asks if Hina really plans to blow up her entire hotel. Hina presumes that Ae-shin has a similar goal for visiting the hotel and suggests that Ae-shin save herself from the explosion. She plans on staying, since her absence will spark suspicion.
Ae-shin suggests that they work together and offers to do the work of the pawnshop duo to save their lives. At the very least, Ae-shin knows that none of the laughing Japanese soldiers downstairs will survive the night. Hina comments that somehow, they’ve found themselves on the same side.
Hina sends off her last two hotel workers with money and urges them to escape far from the hotel without looking back. Inside the hotel, Il-shik holds the bundle of dynamite fuses and urgently tries to light the matchstick at Choon-shik’s notice of approaching footsteps, but all the matchsticks fail to catch fire. A Japanese soldier walks in on them, but his yells are cut short by Ae-shin, who shoots him from behind. The gunshot alarms Dong-mae and Eugene, who had been searching for Ae-shin among the corpses, and they run toward the hotel.
Ae-shin quickly orders the pawnshop duo to escape and takes the responsibility of lighting the fuses. She blocks the door with a chair and shoots the fuses as the soldiers run upstairs toward the gunshot. A Japanese soldier grabs Hina’s hair as she tries to escape the hotel, and Ae-shin shoots him dead. Dong-mae and Eugene watch in shock as the hotel bursts into flames, and the force of the explosion catapults the women into the air. From afar, Hee-sung looks horrified at the sight of the hotel engulfed in flames.
Dong-mae and Eugene search through the burning rubble for our two heroines, and they find Hina under a door. Eugene confirms that she still has a pulse, and Dong-mae trusts Eugene to find Ae-shin as he carries Hina on his back to safety. Dong-mae urgently searches for refuge, and the tailor opens up his store when he recognizes Hina as the woman on the trolley who saved his life in the massacre.
As the bodies are cleared from the streets, Eun-san approaches the covered body of Seung-gu. He holds Seung-gu’s hand and looks upon him with a sorrowful smile. As Eugene searches through the burning debris of the hotel, we hear his narration: “Dear God — the father of my father, Joseph. I will use whatever is left of my life. Since I’ve relied on futile hope in every step of this journey, please let her be alive.” Eugene finally finds unconscious Ae-shin and carries her limp body in his arms. At the hotel entrance, rickshaw runner offers to help, and they quickly board the carriage before the onslaught of Japanese soldiers.
In the carriage, Eugene notices blood on his hands and orders the rickshaw runner to go to the medicine shop, but the runner informs him that the shop is empty. They’re stopped by Japanese soldiers, who demand to know who’s in the rickshaw. Eugene points his gun toward them as the Japanese soldiers slowly approach the rickshaw, but they’re shot by another ally — the mechanic who dissembled the gun that Seung-gu stole from the American freight.
The mechanic recognizes Eugene and immediately offers his help. Eugene orders the rickshaw runner to hide the bodies of the Japanese soldiers and asks the mechanic to take care of Ae-shin while he seeks out medicine.
Hee-sung looks numb in front of the incinerated hotel and gets dragged away as a suspect when he asks for Hina. At the Japanese Korean Army headquarters, Hee-sung remembers Hina’s warning on the day before the explosion. As they watched barrels of alcohol arrive at the hotel, Hina told Hee-sung to stay away from the hotel the next day and take any valuables with him. She thanked him for being a VIP guest at the hotel, and he noted how she spoke to him as if she was going far away. She confirmed that she was, and showed off her new red shoes to him.
At the Japanese Korean Army headquarters, Hee-sung listens to the Joseon police chief reporting that they found one shoe in the rubble. The Joseon police chief assures his Japanese superior that Hina could not have escaped far from the hotel, and he also urges his superior to release Hee-sung, who’s surely been mistaken as a conspirator. The police chief explains Hee-sung’s wealthy family background and assures his superior that Hee-sung would never rebel.
The Japanese superior notices the gunshot in Hee-sung’s arm, and Hee-sung adopts his rich boy persona to blame the Japanese soldiers for ruining his expensive clothes. He asks where to claim payment for the damage, and the Japanese superior quickly releases this headache of a man. Hee-sung tears up in agony as he reaps the benefits of his family’s wealth once more.
Dong-mae holds Hina in his arms and looks at her tenderly as she regains consciousness. She smiles to see Dong-mae has returned, and he asks her to endure a bit longer for the tailor to return with help. But Hina responds with clarity about her inevitable death, as she can feel that her entire body has been destroyed. Dong-mae gently caresses her face and says that Hina is still beautiful now. Hina struggles to breath and asks Dong-mae to take her to her mother. She asks for something to help her pain, and all Dong-mae can do is hold her close. Someone bring the box of tissues, stat.
At the chaotic hospital, Eugene finds a nurse and holds her at gunpoint for medical supplies. When she hears a summon from Japanese soldiers, she tells Eugene to stay hidden and responds to the soldiers in the Joseon patient ward. The soldiers demand that they clear the ward for the incoming injured Japanese soldiers. The nurse responds that they don’t have enough room, so the soldiers shoot all the patients in the ward to solve that problem. Monsters.
Eugene arrives at the ward, and a soldier fearlessly walks up to him. Before the soldier can attack, Eugene holds him in a chokehold and shoots at the remaining Japanese soldiers in front of him. A Japanese soldier approaches Eugene from behind, but a Joseon soldier shoots the enemy in Eugene’s defense. The Joseon soldier greets Eugene as his teacher from his military academy days, and that just made me tear up.
Eugene manipulates the gun placement to stage the scene as a battle between the Japanese soldiers and patients, and the nurse nods in understanding. Eugene helps up the Joseon soldier, who asks if Eugene has returned. Eugene clarifies that he’s still on his way, and he assists the injured soldier out of the volatile hospital.
At their hideout, Eugene extracts shrapnel from Ae-shin’s abdomen and wraps her wound. Ae-shin slowly regains consciousness and recognizes Eugene, but she quickly dismisses him as a dream. She asks about Hina, and Eugene responds that Dong-mae carried her to safety. Ae-shin seems relieved that Dong-mae returned, but she still won’t believe that the Eugene in front of her is real. She admits that she’s had this dream multiple times and won’t fall for it again.
Ae-shin cries as she tells Eugene that Seung-gu died and says that Joseon is utter hell. She tells Eugene not to come to Joseon, even in her dreams, as she must forget him to live. Ae-shin weakly falls into a slumber, and Eugene cries as he gently holds Ae-shin’s face. The mechanic informs Eugene that the comrades are arriving soon and forbids Eugene from joining them, lest he, a foreigner, attract any suspicion. Eugene agrees to this and asks that they also take the Joseon soldier, his student, and Seung-gu’s underling.
Under Eun-san’s watch, the Righteous Army comrades cover Ae-shin and the Joseon soldier like corpses and wheel them away. Eun-san looks up to Eugene on the roof, and they acknowledge each other with a silent nod. As they’re wheeled away, Ae-shin wakes up and recognizes the burn scar on the hand of the corpse wheeled next to her — it’s Seung-gu. She cries in agony.
At the pawnshop, Hee-sung asks the ash-covered duo if they were involved in the hotel explosion, and they both deny any knowledge. Hee-sung explains that the police will search for the source of the dynamite and warns Il-shik and Choon-shik to run away. Hee-sung asks in frustration about their motivations and why they would put themselves in danger. Il-shik says that he couldn’t eat properly knowing that he’s doing nothing for the cause.
They know that Hee-sung will receive suspicion if he’s remains at the pawnshop, but Hee-sung reminds them that he’s untouchable because he’s Kim Hee-sung. They return Hee-sung’s pawned pocket watch and smile widely as they shake hands with him.
Hee-sung brings Seamstress and her younger brother to his home and asks his parents to keep them safe. Nobleman Kim erupts in anger over his son failing to bring a wife home, but Hee-sung responds that Seamstress will be his wife. Seamstress looks surprised at this unexpected confession, and Hee-sung’s mother remains calm as she takes in Seamstress and her younger brother. She looks to Hee-sung, and they silently exchange a glance of understanding.
Nobleman Kim looks surprised at his wife’s actions, and Hee-sung tells his father that he’s lucky to have a wife like his mother. Hee-sung asks his father to take care of them, and he gives his father a hug before heading out.
Along the shore, Dong-mae carries Hina, as he did when she visited her mother’s burial spot. He informs her that Eugene has returned and asks if she has a message for him. She simply asks Dong-mae to welcome Eugene with a handshake for her and tells Dong-mae about something she hung in his room. Then, Hina admits that she let Eugene go from her heart a while back and notes that Dong-mae didn’t notice. She confesses that she had another man in her heart: “In the hotel backyard, the streets, the trolley, and the man’s room, I begged for him to come back alive. That man who only loved Go Ae-shin, who was a fool in love — I waited for him.”
Dong-mae stops walking as it becomes clear that Hina loved and waited for him. She looks around the shore and imagines that this place would look pretty in the snow. She remembers the one snowy night that Dong-mae grabbed her hand from the trolley, and she tells him now to visit her when it snows. He responds that it won’t snow for a long while, and Hina tells him to stay alive for that long while, to not visit her sooner. Hina gasps for air, and with her last breath, she says that she’ll be waiting for him.
Hina’s body goes limp on Dong-mae’s back, and he calls her Joseon name. “Yang-hwa? Yang-hwa, are you sleeping?” Dong-mae weeps and tells her that they’re almost there. As Dong-mae continues to walk along the shore, Hina’s shoe falls off and gets swept into the waves.
Resident General Ito Hirobumi berates the traitor Minister Lee Wan-yong for the hotel explosion, which was unexpected backlash for the dissolution of the Joseon military forces. The prime minister orders the capture of all rebels and expresses disapproval of Minister Lee Wan-yong for his inability to speak the superior tongue of Japanese.
The surviving Joseon soldiers are forced into hiding, and any accomplices are captured or killed for rebelling against the Japanese. At the hospital, a mother begs for help to treat her child, who’s suffered a gunshot wound. The nurse comrade tries to make room among the injured Japanese soldiers, but a Japanese guard shoots the child dead. The mother screams in horror, and the Japanese guard tells the nurse comrade to do her job. With new fire in her eyes, the nurse comrade gathers necessary supplies to do her job outside the hospital, throwing her hospital nurse hat on the ground.
One by one, we see more Joseon people joining the rebel movement. The tailor’s superior asks about the blood on the floor of the store and accuses the tailor of being a part of the Righteous Army. The tailor grabs his superior’s arm before he can hit him, and he storms out of the store vowing to join the Righteous Army. The rickshaw runner carries a traitor minister, who demands that the runner go faster. The runner angrily obliges and throws the rickshaw carriage into the stream.
The Righteous Army comrades gather to pay respects to Seung-gu, and Eun-san smiles as he remembers young Seung-gu vowing to die a different death from his father. They hear rustling from behind, and it’s the nurse, tailor, and rickshaw runner helping an injured scholar. They’ve come with medical supplies and food to support the cause, and Eun-san welcomes them. As the cherry on top, Il-shik and Choon-shik also arrive with their guns, ready to fight alongside their fellow Joseon comrades. Woo, the floodgates are opening — tissues please!
Soomi successfully delivers Hina’s letter to overthrown Emperor Gojong, and he reads it with tears welling in his eyes. She first asks that he ensure Soomi’s safety and then confesses to the unfathomable festivities she’s planned for the Japanese soldiers in her hotel. She asks the emperor to blame the Japanese Kudo Hina for the explosion so that others will not be punished for the deed. She included a confession written in Japanese and asks that he deliver this letter to the prime minister. The emperor follows the request, and the prime minister agrees to halt the unsolicited searches.
Dong-mae looks around his hideout and sees the painting that Hina hung in his room. When Hina had hung the painting, she had remembered Dong-mae’s hope for her to live a new life — to replace her gun with powder, her fencing sword with paintings, to meet a kind man and live an ordinary life. Dong-mae endures the night with opium (likely brought from Manchuria) and sits against the wall by the painting.
Dong-mae meets Eugene and offers Hina’s handshake as proxy. Eugene sighs in sorrow and informs Dong-mae of Ae-shin’s safety as he takes the handshake. He shares that Ae-shin expressed relief about Dong-mae’s return, and Dong-mae excuses himself to attend to important matters, as it’s almost mid-month (the promised meeting date with Ae-shin). Before Dong-mae leaves, Eugene offers his help and tells Dong-mae to find him at Hwawollu. Dong-mae agrees to see him soon.
The baker helplessly watches Japanese warriors beating up a Joseon man, and he falls to the ground in shock when he sees Dong-mae standing in front of him. Dong-mae’s next stop is the dojo, where he confronts the Musin warriors to reclaim what was his. As he mercilessly assassinates his enemies one by one, we hear his plea: “If the heavens help me, if poor electricity hinders the telegram, if poor weather delays the ships — if all this were to happen, the message to Japan would only take ten days. I could live those ten days as if it were a year and die.”
Eugene arrives at Hwawollu, where he’s met by Duk-moon (former aide to Wan-ik) as the owner. Duk-moon recognizes Eugene as the former American soldier, and Eugene expresses confusion about Duk-moon being Hwawollu’s owner when he just saw Dong-mae. Duk-moon dismisses this myth, but a worker confirms that Dong-mae just caused major bloodshed in Jingogae. Duk-moon quickly orders for backup, knowing that Dong-mae will target Hwawollu next. Eugene hears this news and heads to his room.
As the emperor burns Hina’s letter, Gwan-soo enters his quarters sporting a look. He interprets the New York Times for the emperor and translates the headlines about an auto race between New York and Paris. The emperor desperately asks if there is a single line about Joseon, but Gwan-soo apologizes for the disappointment. Then, the emperor asks if he’s heard from Eugene, who must have fulfilled his three-year sentence by now, and simply wishes for him to be alive. Gwan-soo offers to ask about Eugene through Kyle, who’s serving in Japan.
Gwan-soo writes a letter to Kyle, updating him about Domi and asking whether Eugene is alive. He looks up to the heavens and yells for Eugene, who surprises him from behind. Eugene corrects Gwan-soo’s letter with a missing adjective before his name — “handsome” — and Gwan-soo rejoices at the familiar cheeky joke. Gwan-soo hugs Eugene a little too tightly, and Eugene uncomfortably accepts the embrace.
Eugene pours alcohol on Seung-gu’s grave and waits for Eun-san, who arrives out of breath. He’s become quite notorious over the past few years and needed to take a detour to avoid recognition. Eugene hands him a beer, and Eun-san gladly gulps his favorite drink. Eun-san says that Ae-shin doesn’t seem to know about Eugene’s return, and Eugene says that the painkiller and her sadness were probably too intense for her to believe his existence.
Eun-san scolds Eugene for returning, since he’s not even joining the Righteous Army, and Eugene admits that he has no stake in Joseon’s sovereignty. He merely hopes for Ae-shin and his saviors to stay alive, but his path keeps overlapping with the Righteous Army comrades. Eun-san warns him to avoid the overlap if he doesn’t want to get shot, but Eugene says that he continued his long journey back even while knowing the risks. After that long journey, he realized that he can get seasick, he jokes. Eun-san welcomes back Eugene, and Eugene commits to keeping Eun-san alive.
As Eun-san savors the taste of his beer, Eugene says that Joseon was extinguished faster than he’d expected. Eun-san explains that for every addition to the Righteous Army, their enemies add ten, but those ten will easily crumble. One of those ten, the Joseon interpreter for the Japanese forces, sees the Righteous Army sketches and repeats a Japanese proverb: “If you eat poison, might as well eat the plate.” He takes down the sketches and enters Hwawollu.
Eun-san continues: “Traitors don’t risk their lives to sell their country while we risk our lives to protect.” Eugene solemnly lets those words sink, and we see the montage of Righteous Army comrades who’ve risked their lives to protect their country: Ae-shin’s parents, Seung-gu’s father, the innkeeper, Seung-gu, Ae-shin, and Hina.
At Hwawollu, the Japanese interpreter brings the sketches to Duk-moon and shows him Mori’s hitlist, which he previously copied down. He couldn’t read Eugene’s name written in English, but he wrote the rest of the Righteous Army comrades’ names. Duk-moon recognizes the sketch of Ae-shin and adds her name to the hitlist.
The next day, Duk-moon meets with General Ito Hirobumi and provides information on the sketched rebels. He says that Seung-gu’s old hideout is the basecamp for the Righteous Army, and he identifies the sketch of Ae-shin as his sister-in-law. Duk-moon reveals that Ae-shin’s grandfather was Emperor Gojong’s teacher, and General Hirobumi finds this information intriguing. Duk-moon holds onto the hitlist for his political advantage, and the general warns Duk-moon and his army commander not to embarrass him in front of the emperor again.
The Japanese soldiers discover the Righteous Army’s detour to their hideout, and a young boy spots two Japanese soldiers spying on their movements. The boy uses a stick to shoot the enemies, who play along and shush the boy before scattering.
The Japanese interpreter meets with Gwan-soo for a lavish meal, and Gwan-soo demands to know how he earned all this money. Drowning himself in guilt and drinks, the Japanese interpreter admits that he sold the Righteous Army hitlist to Duk-moon, unaware that Ae-shin’s name was also included. Gwan-soo holds his colleague by the collar and admonishes him for betraying his country.
Gwan-soo immediately notifies Eugene, who sends urgent word to Eun-san. Eun-san relays the news of the leaked hitlist to Ae-shin and orders her to kill Duk-moon when she sees fit. As Ae-shin prepares her gun in the medicine shack, she quickly turns around at the sound of someone behind her. It’s Eugene, and she’s utterly shocked as he walks toward her, unable to believe this isn’t a dream. She runs into his arms crying and admits that she spent days reliving what she thought was a dream.
Eugene pulls her away to look at her face, and Ae-shin asks why he returned to precarious Joseon. He reminds her that he promised to see her again and says that he had no other choice. He tells Ae-shin to save Joseon, and he vows to save Ae-shin. He offers to shoot Duk-moon for her, but Ae-shin commits to the mission so that Hina and all her fallen comrades will not have died in vain.
At the hideout, Joon-young explains the hideout rules and surroundings to the new comrades, and the elderly comrades commend the young new additions. The young boy pretends to shoot at Ae-shin’s servant, and he instructs the boy only to shoot at the enemy. The boy shares that he “shot” two Japanese soldiers on their way to the hideout, and that intel prompts the hideout residents to plan their escape. Eun-san orders the comrades to clear the hideout, and the servant wonders how he can contribute to a smooth escape.
When Duk-moon and the Japanese army commander Hasegawa arrive at the hideout, it’s completely empty. Commander Hasegawa points his gun at Duk-moon in rage, and Duk-moon insists that the women and children couldn’t have traveled far.
Then a solider brings an elderly man, who seems to have been a part of the Righteous Army group. Duk-moon tells the commander that the elder is deaf and mute, but the elder refutes this and says that Ae-shin is leading a revolt in Hanseong to kill the commander. Duk-moon translates this intel and offers his help to identify Ae-shin and her servants. Commander Hasegawa leads his troops back to Hanseong and shoots the elder as he leaves.
As they lead the carriage ensemble, Ae-shin’s servant asks the maid if she’s scared. The maid responds that she’s not scared but regrets not seeing Ae-shin beforehand. Her servant admits that he regrets not holding the maid’s hand before they go, and the carriage bearers lightheartedly tease them to hold hands now before it’s too late.
Juxtaposing the cheerful conversation, Commander Hasegawa orders his troops to find the carriage carrying Ae-shin. The commander tells Duk-moon that he’s only useful for the hitlist and threatens to kill him if this mission is unsuccessful. Then, the troops disperse to find the carriage.
Meanwhile, Eun-san and the Righteous Army escape their hideout in the night. Eun-san turns around and belatedly notices that they’re missing a few members. He sighs as he realizes their sacrifice.
The servant notes the approaching footsteps, and a carriage bearer commends the mute and deaf elder for correctly leading the troops to them. The maid corrects the carriage bearer and says that the elder can hear and speak clearly, and they wonder what his last words were. They decide to share their last words, and a carriage bearer shares that he always wanted to yell a summoning like a noble. The maid shares her last words for the servant and says that she enjoyed having him beside her. She offers her hand to hold, and the servant shyly approaches her with his arm outstretched.
Then, a gun fires, and the servant stumbles as he reaches for the maid. More shots fire, hitting the maid and the servant, who both fall to the ground. The Japanese soldiers fire relentlessly at the carriage, and the carriage bearers also crumble to the ground. Covered in gunshot wounds, the servant still reaches for the maid, who lies still on the ground. He slowly loses consciousness, and the lamp that lit their way extinguishes with him.
What a cruel way to go. All they wanted to do was hold hands, and it’s so sad to see them just barely in reach of each other in death. The juxtaposition of the servants’ cheery sacrifice and the ruthless killing spree of the Japanese soldiers made me jump in my seat and let out a little yelp when I heard the gunshots. Even though these servants weren’t on the front lines, they found a way to support the Righteous Army and make a profound impact. In a way, their sacrifice better manifests how the Joseon people, the commoners, contribute to the rebellion. The small contributions of the nurse, the rickshaw runner, Eugene’s military academy student, and the elderly man collectively power the movement and drive it forward in the face of their monstrous enemies. Eun-san’s conviction in the Righteous Army is based on these people, frontlines or not, who would risk their lives to protect their home.
Of the three men, Hee-sung is the only one would I’d identify as a Righteous Army comrade now. Eugene and Dong-mae only seem motivated by the people they love, while Hee-sung seems actively invested in using his name to protect the Joseon people. This is the Kim Hee-sung that I was waiting for — the determined photojournalist who documents history and uses his powerful name to neutralize threats from the Japanese enemies. Hee-sung knows that his rich boy persona and family name saves him from harm, but it’s clear that the persona is excruciatingly painful for him to execute. He trembles in resentment when he uses his name for his own benefit, but he gladly offers his name to protect others. I found the silent understanding between Hee-sung and his mother to be one of the more poignant moments in this episode because it was affirmation for Hee-sung that his family’s wrongs did not all weigh on his shoulders.
Even though I knew it was coming, Hina’s death was painful to watch. Hina and Dong-mae’s interactions always blurred the line between friends and lovers, as they were kindred souls that knew each other’s deep anguish. Hina’s belated confession to Dong-mae was so raw and heartbreaking, as she struggled to maintain her classy composure while gasping for air. But it felt like a fitting and meaningful way for her to die. Kim Min-jung was especially noteworthy in her final moments with Dong-mae, though her ability to portray the sophisticated and deeply flawed Hina elevated any scene. This is possibly her best character — one that utilizes all her best qualities as an actress and stretches her potential — and it makes me excited to see what’s next for her.
This is such a tragic era of Korean history that progresses with defeat after defeat until much later in the occupation. It’s interesting that we’re entering the finale in such a desperate time, when the occupation is only growing stronger with the traitors far outnumbering the fighters. The victories will be small, and the sacrifices will be large. Considering the point in history that we enter our last episode, I’m expecting a sad ending full of guns, glory, and possibly a flicker, a flame of hope that will spread like wildfire to prevail over the atrocities.
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