[Happily never after] When you just can’t find an OTP to be happy for
by Guest Beanie
Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers.
In the case of a painful ending for the main couple, the one thing that consoles the emotionally involved K-drama fan is that one other pairing who actually ended up together. The one couple that made it might have been the guy hired by the leading man to do his legwork, and the girl the leading man hired to be the legwork guy’s eyes and ears, but that still means the couple was fated to be together. However, if you are looking for that kind of silver lining in the sugar-coated tearjerker that is called Mr. Sunshine, look somewhere else, because you won’t find stuff like that here.
Usually, dramas tend to save the fan service till the last episode, some dramas even hold off till the last 10 minutes. Mr. Sunshine did a full 180 on fans and gave all the fan service – SO much of it – in the middle of the show’s run. The fan service served to get you emotionally involved enough to almost kill you in the end. Yes, I agree that all those middle episodes with fluff and no plot was a bit of a drag, but what it did was take my guard down enough that my tear glands were put to heavy use when it pulled a Game of Thrones-ish ending.
During my run through the drama, I shipped many couples (sometimes one character with multiple partners *wink*). Given the setting of the drama, I did expect some heartache and a lot of deaths. But I was totally unprepared for the death of everybody, literally all the main characters, except Ae-shin. There was no happy couple, and to top it off, the only couples who actually went past the ‘some’ stage – which, mind you, is not that many (I counted two: Ae-shin with Eugene and Gunner Jung with the boat café ajumma) — didn’t get to have much couple time together either. (There goes my “at least they had time to love each other before they died” excuse).
Though the good guys didn’t have a happy ending, at least none of the bad guys got what they wanted either. The one that hit me hardest was Mori Takashi, who left his loving family and privileged life in Japan in the pursuit of his misguided patriotism, to be killed in a back alley in his own neighborhood.
I saw similarities between Mr. Sunshine and the Greek story of Pandora’s box. Both stories starts with the good things like love and happiness, but eventually the horrible things like death and despair surfaced. Even though you end up crying buckets at Mr. Sunshine’s tragic ending, the apparent failure of the Righteous Army, and the deaths of the American, Japanese, and Korean men, you are left with this sense of hope knowing that the ones who survived will not give up.
But, BUT, there is no solace you might say. Nothing to make you feel better, nothing to tell yourself to force your aching heart to feel a tad bit better. Did her loss make our heroine stronger? I don’t think so. Ae-shin was already strong enough to let go of her possibly happy future with Eugene to pursue her cause (that one scene in Japan when she asks, “do you think I don’t want to come with you to America?” killed me a little) and she definitely would have been happier with him in her life. But I have to admit the story is better because of it. Because there is no rule saying a person can’t die in real life, whether he’s a hero or a villain.
Now let me go re-watch Descended From the Sun and cry my eyes out. This time, because nobody can convince me that Myung-joo and Dae-young aren’t the reincarnations of Ae-shin’s parents, living the life they deserved to live.
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