Rating:
Average user rating 4.2
81

Mr. Sunshine: Episode 20

As the stakes get higher and Joseon grows weaker, Ae-shin’s confidence begins to falter. But the weight of the enemy forces doesn’t just fall on her shoulders, as her confidants fight the invading forces in their own ways, especially in the battle against Bad Guy Takashi. The Righteous Army have some solid support from their frenemies (and viewers) against this guy. A word to the wise: Never make yourself an enemy like Takashi, a ruthless killer and sadist for Joseon blood, unless you’ve got some backup.

 
EPISODE 20 RECAP

After seeing the innkeeper’s body hanging from the bridge, Eugene storms up to Takashi and punches him across the face. The Japanese soldiers all point their guns at Eugene, and Kyle stands fearlessly in front of their guns, defending Eugene. When Takashi gets back up, Eugene punches him again, and a solider shoots Eugene’s arm. Eugene responds by shooting the soldier in the arm, and Kyle aims a gun at the soldier, threatening to shoot the soldier’s face with his clumsy hand.

Eugene disparages Takashi for being less than a soldier, but Takashi seems satisfied with Eugene’s response. He says that the corpse was his question and Eugene just gave him an answer. Seung-gu arrives at the horrifying scene and hesitates before he can look up at the hanging corpse. He watches a red ribbon fall from the innkeeper’s body, almost as a final warning message. Tearing up in recognition of the innkeeper, he announces that this is his wife and demands that she be brought down.

On the bridge, Eugene instructs the Japanese soldiers to respectfully lower the corpse, now identified as wife to the head of the royal guard. Takashi revels in Seung-gu’s additional answer to his question, and Eugene points his gun at Takashi to shut him up. Takashi smiles and warns Eugene to stay away from places he shouldn’t be. Wiping his bloody face, Takashi vows to return the favor, and Eugene vows to kill him. He made a promise, and now he intends to fulfill that promise.

Dong-mae kneels at the sight of the Musin Society Chief approaching, and the boss greets Dong-mae as his son. He cheerfully asks how much fear he incited in the Joseon people and how much bloodshed he’s caused here.

The innkeeper’s body is lowered, and Seung-gu holds her on the ground. He cries with immense grief with his love in his arms, and Eugene watches sorrowfully from above.

At the Jemulpo temple, Hee-sung looks up to the roof to see Ae-shin in her disguise, and the rest of the Righteous Army cautiously approach him as they check for any remaining enemies. That evening, Eun-san tells Aunt that Grandfather had consistently funded the Righteous Army and assures refuge in Manchuria for her and Ae-soon. Aunt looks to Ae-shin and expects her to join, but Ae-shins says that she has work left to do there. She thanks Aunt for raising her and her servants (the maid lives!) for everything. Aunt begins to cry and promises to wait for her every day, and Ae-shin promises to join them soon.

Ae-shin meets with Hee-sung and thanks him for protecting her family. He says that she must have sunken her 8-ball with this fight and jokes that he worried that she would become a traitor in his outfit. She mentions Hee-sung’s newspaper, and though she doesn’t trust the power of words, she trusts Hee-sung. He assures her that there is power to words and recording history — patriotism, betrayal, and all. He tells her to continue fighting with the gun while he documents this history.

She says that she’ll root for him, and before she leaves forever, Hee-sung tells her to visit the hotel if she happens to pass by. He says that sometimes there’s a ball hidden behind the 8-ball that could put her in danger, and he offers a refuge in case she may need it. She takes his offer and wishes him well, and Hee-sung watches her leave with sad puppy eyes.

As he leads the Japanese army through the streets, Takashi angrily turns to his injured soldier and rebukes him for starting a fight that he couldn’t win, especially in front of Joseon people. He digs his finger into the soldier’s bullet wound and hands him a gun to kill himself. The soldier hesitates (understandably), so Takashi impatiently takes the gun and shoots the soldier dead. Then, he shoots the other two soldiers who were helping this injured soldier. Takashi announces to the rest of his entourage army that there will be no more Japanese soldiers who lose, and he continues on his way with blood splattered on his manic face.

Takashi joins the dinner meeting with Musin Boss and Dong-mae, and he asks about Dong-mae’s gunshot wounds. Musin Boss wonders who beat Dong-mae’s sword, and Dong-mae assures him not to worry. Takashi continues to diminish Dong-mae by asking him to pour him a shot of alcohol, and Dong-mae does so with incredible restraint.

Their dinner is interrupted by a solider who reports to Takashi about the annihilated forces in Jemulpo. Takashi looks incredibly irate by this untimely news delivered in front of Musin Boss. While Musin Boss looks amused by the Takashi’s completely annihilated army, Dong-mae looks shaken at the possibility of Ae-shin’s appearance in Jemulpo.

As Hina fixes her makeup, she tells Leo (the French ambassador’s secretary) that she’ll think about his offer to join him in France. He gushes that he could give Joseon the Eiffel Tower if Hina came with him, and he gives her a peck on the cheek before heading out. After he leaves, Hina immediately heads to her tub and reveals Leo’s duplicity to Mrs. Kang. Shaken by this betrayal, Mrs. Kang demands to know why Hina is doing this to her, so Hina reveals that Minister Lee requested a covert investigation of Mrs. Kang as the suspected traitor.

Hina offers Mrs. Kang a choice: a bar of gold to buy a ticket to France and spill everything, or a gun to kill her. Mrs. Kang asks why Hina’s giving her an out, and Hina explains that she needs intel as leverage and to spite Minister Lee. Mrs. Kang discloses that at first, she gave Leo information on the dead American missionary as requested by Wan-ik. Then, she was asked for the list of the emperor’s covert agents, per the request of someone coming from Japan.

Hina asks who this Japanese person was, but Mrs. Kang claims that she doesn’t know, since she couldn’t even retrieve the list of covert agents. Mrs. Kang swears that this everything, and Hina walks over to ring the bell for her room. Two men enter her room to drag away Mrs. Kang, and Hina admits that she lied about her offer to save Mrs. Kang. Hina doubts the validity of Mrs. Kang’s desperate confession, so she heads to Wan-ik’s house to confirm the information.

Eugene heads to the medicine shop for his bloody arm, and he sees a red pinwheel perched on the wall. He immediately knows that Ae-shin has stopped by and runs off. At the dojo, Dong-mae finds a pouch of coins and knows it’s from Ae-shin. He wonders why she left a couple months’ worth of her debt and realizes that she would be away for that long because she was going to kill Wan-ik. Not sure I follow the logic, but it makes sense to Dong-mae, and he runs off as well.

As he receives treatment for his limp leg, Wan-ik smugly revels in his defeat over the Go family and says that he’ll sleep with ease that night. The acupuncturist leaves and sees Ae-shin in the shadows of the house, but he doesn’t make her presence known. Ae-shin enters Wan-ik’s room and points her gun at him, and Wan-ik demands to know who dares to trespass into his home. Ae-shin takes off her mask, and though she regrets coming too late, she’s here now. Her words echo in Wan-ik’s mind, eerily similar to the haunting last words of Ae-shin’s mother, who promised that someone would collect him eventually.

In an attempt to fight back, Wan-ik throws a pillow at Ae-shin, which explodes at Ae-shin’s gunshot. Eugene, Dong-mae, and Hina all hear this gunshot on their way towards Wan-ik’s house. Wan-ik limps toward the sword on his wall, and Ae-shin patiently waits before shooting his shoulder. Wan-ik grumbles that he would have made it if it weren’t for his limp leg, which was fittingly shot by Ae-shin’s teacher, Seung-gu. Ae-shin walks toward him and fatally shoots his chest. Wan-ik’s body goes limp, and Ae-shin lowers her gun.

Eugene arrives to find Wan-ik’s dead body but no Ae-shin, who’s already fled the scene. Soon after, Dong-mae runs into Wan-ik’s room and asks Eugene if he’s the culprit. Eugene implies that they both know the real culprit, and Dong-mae suggests that Eugene cover up as the culprit while he plays the witness, since Dong-mae is on protection duty. Hina also arrives, and Dong-mae covers the body to protect Hina from the gruesome sight. But Hina doesn’t seem fazed and orders her servant to call Machiyama to the house, followed by Duk-moon to discover the scene. Hina says that she’ll be framing Machiyama as the culprit, with a valid motive that he was falsely promised a promotion to royal doctor by Wan-ik.

Waiting for Machiyama, Hina stares at her dead father and tells him to fulfill his role as her father one last time. When Machiyama arrives, Hina baits him into the room and points a gun at his head. She instructs him to pick up an envelope and proceeds to kill him once she finds out that he’s right-handed. She leaves the gun in Machiyama’s right hand and places the envelope — Machiyama’s will — on the table.

As Eugene walks through the village with his injured arm, he hears someone whistling the melody of the music box. It’s Takashi, and he taunts Eugene, asking if that woman with the music box knew he was a slave. Then, Takashi shares that his forces in Jemulpo were obliterated, and he suspects an affiliation with Eugene. They’re interrupted by a Joseon police man notifying them of curfew, and Takashi warns Eugene that he’s getting confused on whether Eugene is a Joseon person or an American. That night, Takashi looks at the hit list of Righteous Army members and adds Eugene’s name to the list.

The pawnshop duo admire Wan-ik’s obituary and discuss the content framing Machiyama as the culprit, which Hina requested from Hee-sung’s newspaper. Il-shik presumes that Hina and Hee-sung both know the real culprit. Hee-sung smokes a cigarette outside and wonders if Ae-shin will visit the hotel.

The Japanese interpreter informs Takashi of Wan-ik’s death, and Takashi orders for the body of the Joseon man to be left with the Joseon people. The police chief notifies Minister Lee about Wan-ik, and Minister Lee also surrenders responsibility of the body because Wan-ik doesn’t deserve to be treated like a Joseon person. The ministers discuss the rejection of Wan-ik from both nations, and we learn that they’re Minister Lee Geun-taek (later one of the five traitors on the Eulsa Treaty) and Minister Kwon Joon-hyun (another Eulsa Treaty traitor). These ministers ironically scorn the traitor and assert that they must live honestly.

Seung-gu and Eugene bury the innkeeper, and Seung-gu weeps in sorrow. He tells the innkeeper that she did well and that they’ll take it from there. As they leave the mountain, Seung-gu ties the innkeeper’s red ribbon to his gun and tells Eugene that they should go their separate ways. Eugene stops him, knowing that he’ll be acting on his impulses to kill Takashi, and says that a Joseon person can’t kill Takashi. He says that they must first find out the traitor in their midst who gave Takashi the list of Righteous Army members.

Hina and Minister Lee collect Wan-ik’s body, and Minister Lee offers condolences for the loss of her father. Knowing that her father’s death is a victory for Joseon, Hina doesn’t seem to take the condolences to heart. She tells Minister Lee that she’s captured Mrs. Kang and will send the details once she discovers who solicited the information, at which point she demands Minister Lee reveal her mother’s whereabouts. Minister Lee doesn’t wait and discloses her mother’s location — a secluded Catholic village in Gangwondo.

Hina asks if her mother is alive, and Minister Lee regrettably informs her that she had already been buried when he discovered her whereabouts. In denial, Hina tears up and says that Minister Lee will need to pay for his life if that’s true. He argues this hope kept her alive, but she corrects him that this hope merely allowed her to endure. She accuses him of cruelly manipulating her with the hope that her mother was alive, but Minister Lee firmly justifies his lie. As tears of anger and sorrow fall down her face, Hina says that she lost both parents today and vows to kill Minister Lee.

Eugene meets with Dong-mae in front of the post office and requests his help in searching records, since they’re working against the same enemy. The post office manager complies as a willing hostage now, and the two frenemies go to work searching the telegram records for any suspicious messages exchanged between the U.S., Joseon, and Japan. Dong-mae finds a suspicious record of a large money exchange between a Japanese shoemaker and Leo, and Eugene says that they’ve found their culprit.

Eugene delivers Leo to Minister Lee and says that Leo is likely just one of Takashi’s many agents in Joseon. Minister Lee asks why Eugene brought Leo to him, and Eugene explains that Minister Lee is the best at blackmail and threats. Minister Lee says that Joseon is once again indebted to Eugene and asks how he can repay him. Eugene says that you can take back something that’s stolen, but you can’t take back something you give. Seeing that Joseon eroding away, Eugene rejects any repayment that won’t belong to Joseon anyway. Eugene leaves Minister Lee to ponder on that thought while Leo is dragged away my Minister Lee’s soldiers.

Minister Lee joins Emperor Gojong for a drink that night, and the emperor expresses fear of the lies and schemes against him. Minister Lee says that he fears something greater — that Joseon will be relinquished to Japan without a fight. He repeats Eugene’s perspective on Joseon’s struggle, and Minister Lee gets on his knees with a plea that the emperor join his people in this fight. Emperor Gojong sees the dirt on Minister Lee’s shoulder and notes that he must have been fighting even today.

Takashi recovers Leo’s dead body from the river and wonders who’s responsible: Eugene, Ae-shin, or someone else? Takashi looks delighted by the beating of the captured Righteous Army members, and he loads his gun to investigate the whereabouts of Seung-gu, Eun-san, and Ae-shin. The first two down the line yell that they don’t know, and Takashi immediately shoots them dead. Realizing that these captives prefer to die, Takashi orders his men to beat these guys until they’re unrecognizable but to keep them alive.

Takashi visits Dr. Machiyama’s office to investigate his belongings and instructs the nurse to stay out until summoned. He opens the autopsy report of Hina’s husband, and he yells irately at the nurse at the sound of footsteps. Before he can turn around, a cloth covers his head, and he’s knocked unconscious by Seung-gu. He’s accompanied by Eugene, who takes the autopsy report. The nurse walks in on them, and Eugene points his gun at her and threatens her in Japanese. But the nurse responds in Korean and willingly leads them to a back exit.

Takashi squirms as he’s hung by a rope at the same bridge that the innkeeper’s corpse was displayed. The Japanese soldiers all gather around and lower him, and at Takashi’s demand, a solider translates the message written on him: “Let it be known that a Joseon Righteous Army member saved a Japanese colonel.” Takashi recognizes the red ribbon that was used to blindfold him as the one that fell from the innkeeper’s body and he realizes that he’s been hung from a rope just like her. He yells in mortification, but the sound of a gunshot brings him to his senses. Takashi realizes that his idiot soldiers have been effectively distracted by his humiliation.

The Righteous Army, led by Eun-san and Seung-gu, invade the Japanese prison and rescue their surviving comrades. Ae-shin shoots at the Japanese soldiers from above, and they clear the area before Takashi arrives.

Takashi visits the emperor the next morning and angrily accuses Seung-gu of taking part in the attack on the Japanese forces. The emperor interrupts Takashi’s rude interjection and instructs him that in Joseon, only the emperor makes the first remark, asks questions, and yells. Emperor Gojong then rejects Takashi’s accusation and claims Seung-gu was protecting him all night. When Takashi tries to argue, the emperor warns him that he could be punished for entering the royal court with his weapon and advises him not the trigger this.

In the courtyard, Seung-gu admits that he wasn’t at his post protecting the emperor, but Emperor Gojong already knows this. He says that if Seung-gu was involved in the attack, then he considers that as keeping his post. Emperor Gojong knows Seung-gu’s history in the battle against the Americans, and he says that Seung-gu had protected his post then as well. But the emperor admits that he didn’t protect his people and endured the shame for all these years because he, as the emperor, could not apologize. He despises that his power to confront a Japanese colonel comes from the robe he hides in.

Eugene eats at the bakery and remembers that one of the envelopes with a piece of the map was sent to the baker. He notices the cuts on the baker’s face and comments that the bakery was closed on the ritual 49th day since Grandfather’s passing. The baker anxiously covers up that he was receiving the baking ingredients that day, but Eugene already knows that he’s a part of the Righteous Army. He asks the baker to send Ae-shin his regards.

As Eugene walks down a road, he thinks about Seung-gu’s request that Eugene stand at the end of whatever journey Ae-shin embarks on. Ae-shin reveals herself from the shadows, and Eugene looks relieved to see her after so long. As they walk together, Eugene says that he was starting to hate her because he missed her so much. Ae-shin stops and tells him that he can forget her, that he doesn’t need to wait for her anymore. After her family’s ruin, Ae-shin admits that she no longer has any futile hope or romance. She says that they should go their separate ways.

Unwilling to let Ae-shin go, Eugene offers to walk alongside her instead of waiting at the end of her journey. Ae-shin says that she wishes for him to live, to which Eugene responds that he misses her so much that he may die. He reminds her that she’s still indebted to him and vows to find her, wherever she is, to collect his debt. She agrees to this and heads off to meet her comrades.

When Eugene returns to the hotel, the receptionist advises him to check his room, since a robber stole items from the guests. Takashi says that the music box was stole and assumes that nothing was stolen from Eugene’s room. Eugene corrects him and says that he lost the greatest thing. At the medicine shop, Ae-shin packs the music box and her disguise before heading off to her next mission.

Hina asks Soomi if she helped the robber, and she reads right through Soomi’s lies. Soomi admits that she helped the robber by taking items from different guests’ rooms, but she won’t reveal who this robber is. Hina already knows the robber’s identity and asks Soomi for the stolen items to burn before she’s caught.

As Hina burns the stolen items, Eugene joins her and hands her the autopsy report to burn as well. He expresses his condolences for her father, and she accepts that his sad ending was inevitable. Hina asks if he met his friend (Ae-shin), who seems to have paid them a visit. Eugene simply says that she left again, and Hina notes that he doesn’t have a happy ending either. Then, she throws the autopsy report into the fire.

Joon-young and his comrades approach Eugene at the military academy and ask that he accept them back as trainees. After seeing Wan-ik’s obituary, they’ve realized that there are more enemies against Joseon and wish to fight the greater powers. Eugene accepts their courage to step into a bigger world and orders them to start running. We see a montage of Joon-young and his buddies practicing with empty guns, then fully loaded guns. After repeated practice, Joon-young finally shoots his gun without dropping the stone at the end, and Eugene smiles at them in satisfaction.

At the tea shop, Dong-mae counts the coins that Ae-shin left him. He counts up to six months and realizes that Ae-shin paid for three more months after a whole half year. It’s January 1904, and it seems like Dong-mae must wait three more months before Ae-shin delivers her next payment. Eugene also waits and reminisces about Ae-shin on his balcony. He holds coins in his hands, remembering when he threw the coins at a passerby to help Ae-shin escape, and longingly looks out into the night.

Takashi greets Hayashi, the Japanese ambassador, at Jemulpo when he returns to Joseon, and Hayashi announces the launch of the Russo-Japanese war. Hayashi prematurely congratulates Takashi on his promotion to commander of the Japanese Korean Army, and they shake hands in anticipation of the war to come.

The locals in Hanseong complain about the rising costs of goods and notice that the ambassadors’ families have been moving out of Joseon recently. A man tells them the rumor of the Japanese forces sinking a Russian naval vessel and predicts that they’ll be at war soon. Boys line up at the pawnshop for stacks of newspaper extras and run through the streets distributing the issue. Joon-young and his friends read the news, which confirms that Japan ambushed two Russian naval vessels at Jemulpo.

Hina picks up one of the newspaper extras that night, and Hee-sung finds her reading his paper. She says that Joseon needs to choose to bite (mulgi) instead of cry (ulgi). Hee-sung says that Joseon will suffer regardless and predicts that the outcome of the war will be determined by who the U.S. sides with.

Eugene informs Kyle that the Russian ambassador just left Joseon, and Kyle notifies him of his return order. With the official declaration of the Russo-Japanese war, Kyle has been transferred to Japan, and he requested to Eugene be ordered back to the U.S. He couldn’t leave Eugene in Joseon because he knew what Eugene would do. Picnic’s over, he says.

Dong-mae notices Musin Boss’ minions wandering the streets and asks them if Musin Boss is still in Joseon. They claim that he’s already left and say that they’ve remained as Boss’ eyes and ears to watch Dong-mae. But Musin Boss is still in Joseon, and joined by Takashi and Hayashi, he orders his forces to kill Lee Jung-moon that night.

Minister Lee tracks down the interim foreign affairs minister and accuses him of selling Joseon by signing the Japan-Korean treaty. We see that the foreign affairs minister was forced to sign the treaty with a sword at his neck, but that doesn’t make him any less of a traitor. He holds sword to the traitor’s neck, but Minister Lee is then surrounded by Japanese forces.

Dong-mae deduces that Musin Boss passed through Joseon for a reason, and he figures that Boss doubted him enough to handle matters directly instead of delegating the task to him. The police chief runs in and informs Dong-mae that the Musin warriors captured Minister Lee, and he seems confused that Dong-mae didn’t know about his own gang’s movements. Yujo tries to stop Dong-mae from getting involved, but Dong-mae says that even if he dies, he’ll save those who need to be saved.

By those who need to be saved, Dong-mae was referring to Hina, and he barges into her room as she pours herself a glass of wine. He informs her that Minister Lee has been captured by the Musin warriors, and he came to protect her. Hina hesitates for a moment and remembers her vow to kill Minister Lee. She wonders if he’ll die, and Dong-mae figures that they wouldn’t just capture him if they wanted him dead. Hina finishes her glass of wine and decides to inform her comrades. Dong-mae tries to stop her, but Hina defends her honor and immediately calls the emperor. Nice — emperor on speed dial!

Emperor Gojong summons Seung-gu and asks him to rescue Minister Lee from the Japanese forces. Seung-gu comments that the emperor is only now rescuing his people, but he receives the royal order and embarks on the rescue mission.

Eun-san tells the Righteous Army about their new mission to rescue Minister Lee. He shows them the banknote that was intended to fund the Righteous Army, and he says that it’s imperative that Minister Lee escape to Shanghai with this banknote. He warns his comrades that whoever joins this mission may not return, and Ae-shin volunteers. Eun-san initially rejects her offer and says that she may be disadvantaged and unable to enter Japan because she’s a woman, but Ae-shin disagrees. She repeats Eugene’s encouraging resolve that there’s always a way. She says she knows a way to enter Japan.

Ae-shin visits Eugene in his hotel room, but she notes that he doesn’t seem happy to see her. Eugene says that she lied about sending him news and now she shows up after six months. She heard that Eugene will be returning to the U.S., and she requests that he take her with him. He remains silent and ponders to himself about her sudden and harsh request: “Between her passion and cruelty, where do I lie? I thought we were almost there, but it seems like we must continue further… into the flame. One step further.”

 
COMMENTS

Ae-shin is turning out to be one heartless resistance fighter. She’s channeling all her burning passion and anger into the Righteous Army missions, and I love seeing her be a complete badass. But I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see her process these emotions that are so pivotal to her contribution to the Righteous Army. It seems that the three men are carrying all the heart and longing, while Ae-shin disappears and somehow transforms into who she was meant to be in the movement. I feel robbed of the anguish and emotional capacity of Kim Tae-ri, but I guess when duty calls, you just have to deliver (your lines). I agreed with how the show had Ae-shin kill Wan-ik, since it comes full circle with her mother’s promise that he would be bit in the ass someday. But it kind of just… happened. Besides Hina’s realization that she lost both her parents, the impact of his death was a bit underwhelming. It was almost like he was stirring the pot, and then he fell into the pot and died.

I feel more satisfied with the fight against our other main villain, Takashi. I thought the red ribbon from the innkeeper was utilized well in this episode, as a simple symbol of the resistance and its power to carry on with the spirit of those who’ve sacrificed their lives for the cause. For the innkeeper, these ribbons were warning flags for Eun-san, and I loved how this symbol of warning transformed into grief and then into revenge. The transition of emotions felt seamless, and it was so gratifying to see Takashi recognize the red ribbon and realize the unbearable humiliation he just experienced. It was Seung-gu and the Righteous Army’s cheeky way of accomplishing their revenge against Takashi. Since they couldn’t kill him, they delivered the next best thing.

As I watch the limited scenes of Joon-young and Eugene together, I’m realizing how much potential they would have had throughout this whole series. I am simultaneously angry and grateful that he’s been added this late in the game. The show couldn’t have both Dong-mae and Eugene twiddling their thumbs waiting for Ae-shin, and so they gave Eugene a slide plot to work with, but that side plot is so promising that I’m sad we won’t be getting more of it. I can only hope that Joon-young gets more screen time in these last few episodes as this show continues to bulldoze toward the finish line.

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , ,

81

Required fields are marked *

Thank you, Dramallama, for the recaps!

This was such a moving episode for me. Ae shin continues to grow into the badass freedom fighter and Eugene continues to support her and her mission, at whatever the cost. His emotional burst to remind her that he will walk the same path was so revealing, and moving. I completely understand why KES built the role of Mr. Sunshine with him in mind.
The ensemble cast, the writing and the deeper meaning of this show continue to amaze me.

3
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

I've said it before but more and more I feel that in this story, everybody dies.

I also enjoyed Ae shin coming into her own as a freedom fighter. I think it was intimated throughout the series that she was getting there, as even in the second episode she took down 4 Japanese with 4 shots, in about 6 seconds.

My problem, though, is in the heartlessness she shows to Eugene, and how she lies to him in the end. She tells him that she'll come with him to America, but her plan is really to drag him into this suicide mission in Japan with her. And if you believe the preview of next week's episodes, even then, when it's completed, she will not return with him.

And really, all Ae shin had to say with him was, come with me. And he would've left the Americans to join her and fight in the resistance.

I firmly believe now that Ae shin is leading him to his doom, and he will sacrifice himself to keep her alive. For all her pretty words, she is spending his life like coins. She has no heart.

7
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

My take is slightly different, and I think this is where cultural expectations play a role. Up until her grandfather's death, Ae shin was a Righteous Army operative fettered by her real life position as a noblewoman in Lord Go's household. The symbolic cutting of her hair can have many layers of meaning, for me it also means that she is now free to fulfill her stated destiny of 'a beautiful flower that flames brilliantly for a short time'. In her glorious smackdown speech to Hina, she lists what is important to her, first Joseon, then her family, then her hair (values) given by her parents and Eugene is not on that list (and nor would he expect to be....I think he gives himself as support for her role). He was hurt by two things so far, grandfather sacrificing him to kill Takashi, and Ae shin not letting him be her support.

8
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I see your point and I mostly agree with it. My quarrel is not with her drawing on him to be her support. As you say, he would have welcomed it.

My quarrel is that when she goes to him, She's not honest. She's calling on his love for her (I thought you'd be glad to see me), and starting with the enticement (take me with you to America).

She knows he wants to be with her, and she knows he wants her tomorrows (what are these dreams, and am i there with you?). So she offers that to him, knowing full well she won't do so. In the end she says when Chosun is safe I'll come back to you. Well, those of us who know a little history know that's not going to happen for 50+ years.

Even Ae shin knows her cause is almost hopeless. Not that the people would stop fighting, because they keep on fighting straight through, but that she would live through it. As she told Lee Wan Ik, her only goal was to delay it for one day, and then tomorrow to delay it for another. Her commitment to Chosun is there. But for herself, there is no hope in that. And there is no hope in her telling Eugene I'll come back to you.

She may as well have told him, I'll see you next life time.

6
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

@grumpyoldman As a card-carrying diehard Romantic in the western tradition of the Brontes, I completely agree with your excellent comment! But for eastern buddhists, personal salvation through rebirth in an endless cycle of reincarnation is a fundamental belief. My guess is Ae shin has no problem saying 'seeing you in the next life!'

P.S. Don't see the Goblin

5

I found it fascinating that she was using Eugene, and he knew it and was willing to be used. But they both knew what she was doing w/o saying a word.
She's never been sentimental anyway and this aspect of her was quite interesting and imo, a twist I wasn't expecting.

3

@beantown, I'm already hooked on it, on episode 10. I thought that was what was coming, especially after the cycle of life and death and rebirth, and after her habit of helping the ghosts be free of their burdens, and pass on. And that's fine. I am not a Buddhist, but reincarnation is a comfort to many many people.

My problem was never with the 'everyone dies.' And 'see you next lifetime' is fine too.

I objected to her lie. Come with me on a suicide mission, she could've said, and he would've come with her in a heartbeat. But instead she said, I'll come with you. Take me with you to America." Even Eugene didn't believe her.

2

@linda palapala, I agree with you wholly that she was using Eugene and he knew it and was willing to be used, and that she was always a little cold-blooded.

The things she said to Hui sung, and to Eugene at last, actually blew me away. That she missed him after only a few hours. That she would pray for him and comfort him, like his father. That she wanted to be with him and walk with him throughout their lives, that she refused her grandfather's commands to be with him, and that he was actually sent for and presented himself to Lord Go, straight-backed, respectful, and answered him honestly and without shame, warts and all.

I've also said that she could've said to him at any time, come with me on this suicide mission, we'll probably both die. And he would've said, sure. Let me get my pack and my weapons.

It was her lying to him in the end that I objected to.

And even her using him I find to be a bit cruel and heartless, in the same way that Lord Go was, or Jung moon. All the other members of the resistance have more heart. Gunner Jang has a thousand times more heart. Even the Potter has more heart.

This seems to be a part of the discussion of Ae shin's being an entitled noblewoman, and whether she was growing or stagnating. I believed that she was growing, and partly through her love for Eugene was pulling herself to see the world, and people, in different ways. But now it looks like those two sets of feelings merely coexisted together inside her, and as long as one didn't conflict with the other, they were both ok. But in the end, the Noble Woman won out, and her love for Eugene evaporated.

Ae Sin may become a great commander after all this, over the bodies of Eugene, Dong Mae, Jang and Hui sung, but for me it'll be worthless. I remember in Vietnam there were 2 types of commanders. The first type, like Eugene, trained, taught and drove his men and protected them in the field, while the other type spent his men like coins. The first type, his men would go through hell and back for him. The second, would've been fragged in his sleep, a thousand times over.

6

@beantown ,I just finished Goblin and it had me in tears. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

1

@grumpyoldman I am sooo happy to hear you loved Goblin!! Isn't it incredible? I still go back and revisit certain scenes; when they confront god in the bar..or when he reads the poem ..or when they come to her rescue...arrrgh I need a rewatch!

P.S. Misaeng is another one, on Netflix!

1

A few responses to here and there:
- Ae Shin is not sentimental anyway: the stitched book, the pinwheel, the music box... say otherwise
- The lie did bother me but noticed how she was on the verge of crying, that was a dead give away that she was not honest, hence she is cold but not heartless. I wonder if she actually wants Eugene to resent her and she will never let Eugene die for her
- Eugene, even in his support for Joseon, has always done what was right which people mistake for lack of passion. It certainly is not true.

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I would have liked to see more Ae Shin's scenes as fighter in the Righteous Army too. She looked badass on the roof of the temple!

I loved how Dong Mae tried to protect Hina with his body from the view of her dead father and after from the Japaneses.

I would like to read what Hee Sung wrote in his newspaper, to know his writer's pen.

The bromance scenes are the best :p I love how they tease each other. So I hope those scenes won't disapear !

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you for the recap, Dramallama.
I am slowly beginning to accept that Kim Eun-sook lied and is gonna stomp my broken heart into pieces in this finale.

I read somewhere - and I agree - that such an anticlimactic death for Lee Wan-ik is so befitting because after all his shenanigans and betrayal, he is in the end dismissed as an afterthought, with no importance attached to him and the disgraceful life he lived.

Another scene that was fitting was the humiliation of Takashi Mori. For someone so proud being brought so low, but I was too sad from Hong Pa's death to appreciate it.

Eugene is by far and away my favorite male character in this show, but I must admit I am very impressed with the man Hee-sung has become. He's found his purpose as a newspaper owner, and his place in Joseon's fight for freedom, and it shines through in all his actions.

I also thought Eugene's words of advice to Lord Lee Jeong-mun were very wise.

I was bothered in the beginning by the portrayal of Takashi Mori, but then I remembered history, and how much evil has been done in the name of imperialism and war, and that Takashi is only a fraction of the evil people have done and the callousness they are capable of. It isn't a caricature at all (hats off to the actor, btw).

The new generation of the Righteous Army is basically forming, and all I can see ahead is hopelessness and futility in the long struggle to come.

More than anything, I want something of Ae-sin, and Eugene, and Dong-mae to survive this turmoil (children? I dunno), but I really don't see how Eugene and Dong-mae will survive, esp. Dong-mae. But IMO, they are the two who most deserve to see a new Joseon (Korea?) with rights and equality for all her children.

I'm still mad at Kim Eun-sook. I came for love and romance and some history, not this all-encompassing heartbreak.

10
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

I, too love the recognition of the battle being taken up by the next generation, the 'passing-on of the red ribbon'. That will be the thought that has to get us through the approaching maelstrom.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't know if you have seen The Age of Shadows but its about the Righteous Army and Lee Byung Hun is in. It was a good movie but a sad one...

I like Eugene but for me, he's too perfect. And perfection tends to be boring for me.

4
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for the recommendation!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, thanks for the rec'd. It's on Netflix and I haven't watched it yet...
I'm also re-watching Bridal Mask.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is it family friendly? (I have searched it, but it is unrated. Confession, I'm a big sissy. TV K-Dramas are about as tense as I can deal with. I've tried to watch some Korean movies, and have enjoyed many, but some are too violent, sexual, or tense for me. (Not judging anyone else, I just know my limitations.)

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is The Age of Shadows family friendly? (I needed to clarify I wasn't asking about Bridal Mask, which I loved and recommend to anyone--except I liked the beginning better than the end.)

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I just watched it on Netflix and I liked it. (Yeah, it was gory, but not that bad. Yeah, it was sad, but hopeful.) Thanks for the recommendation, Kurama!

1

Sorry, I was sleeping. I couldn't answer. I'm happy you liked it :)
This movie is interesting because it's really about the Righteous Army .

1

I totally agree with the assessment about not being shown Ae Shin's transition or progression through her grief to where she is now. I kept wondering what she was doing in all her months away. We only get to see the men's POV.

And who else was thinking that it would have been poetic justice for someone to kill Takashi after he'd been strung up on the bridge bc he'd 'lost' to a Joseon person. I mean, that's what he killed his soldiers for. I felt a lot of satisfaction at his humiliation, but am still waiting for someone to put a bullet between his eyes. He's a sadistic psycho!

This show continues to captivate me, though, even with its flaws.

5
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same. I'm glad they humiliated him but someone should have taken him out.

1
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

And quickly. Geesh. Ae-shin took so long to shoot Wan-ik I just knew someone would walk in, conk her on the head, and kidnap her in her cool men's suit. We were yelling, "quit talking! Just shoot him already!" (And when Eugene was pointing the gun at Takashi, my hub said, "why doesn't he just kill him already?" And I answered, "because that isn't what he was written to do." (Still, I was sure Wan-ik was going to escape while Ae-shin was monologing. )

6
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Seriously, I don't know why it took her so long! I'm so glad she was able to shoot through the pillow instead of something where a bullet could ricochet off.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was a cat and mouse thing. She is a sniper. One bullet wouldn't have been enough satisfaction.

2

Killing Japanese is quicker than Joseon. One second bam. Dead..🤣😂 Sorry.. Not sorry..

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

We were yelling, "quit talking! Just shoot him already!"

Hah! That reminds me of Tuco in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

“When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Takashi's great honor as a Japanese officer should have caused him to take himself out because he couldn't live with the shame he had brought the Emperor. Funny how that honor thing doesn't work the same way when it's yourself.

9
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

That was my line of thinking!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@dramallama Thanks for your recap/comments. I think the three were added late in the game because they're going to be the only survivors to carry on the fight.
"I feel robbed of the anguish and emotional capacity of Kim Tae-ri, but I guess when duty calls, you just have to deliver (your lines)..."
If it had been another screenwriter...
If you ever watched Gaksital (Bridal Mask), re-watching it after seeing Mr Sunshine makes it even more meaningful.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My husband (who always points out 1995 cars in a 1980 era show, and police sirens --that is an electronic siren. In those days they used mechanical, or grinders." etc.)
I think the word is anachronism.
So, we were watching Mr. Sunshine and the scene where Kyle tells Eugene that the president is calling them home, he shows him an official document and it says, "Franklin D. Roosevelt." (Or FDR) and he says, "Did that say FDR?" And I want to continue to watch the episode, but I know he's going to keep talking about it, so I back up the tape (not on tape, but you know what I mean) and sure enough, somebody in the prop department goofed and instead of Teddy, the president on the document was Franklin.
Now, I'm okay with this, because I'm into this episode. (It was GREAT!) But I just had to make this comment. Sorry.

9
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

yeah, i twitched when that flashed, but then i was engrossed in the ongoing scenes...

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Unfortunately, that scene went by too fast and I only caught the Roosevelt part. Thanks for pointing that out.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

That's great 🤣

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yup!! I caught it and say WTH?!

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Horroble mistake!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Am I the only one that, at the end of this episode, wished Eugene had just gone downstairs to Hina and said, "Hey Hina, why don't you come to America with me?"

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

An un-popular view:

The push back on why Ae-shin lies to Eugene is a pretty archaic way to look at relationships and at the core of misogynist-thinking. Just because she fell in love and had a romance with Eugene she should not use him. Why? Cos she is a woman and thus she has to have empathy? Please. Rebels use everyone and everything to stay alive. It’s a suicide mission. I’m glad the writer is a woman and gets this. The fact that she is willing to even use Eugene is what makes her a strong character. I love who she is so far.

Side note: Ae-shin has pointed the gun at Eugene at least 3 times now, 1. at the shooting practice site, 2. at the Apothecary. 3. at the kiln site. Yeah but we ignored all that cos it was so cute – right?

Next that notion that Eugene would drop everything and join her as a rebel is ridiculous at best. He would not, and he cannot, because that would be deserting the US Army. If he did that it would be a nice twist to the plot (I’ll give you that), but it is not in line with the way KES has built up Eugene’s personality or character. It would be uncharacteristic of Eugene to do so.

Let’s take a look at who Eugene is. Had a very tragic life, left Joseon as a slave (and is stuck in that era in his head), fought hard to survive even in America, has super low self-esteem because of his circumstances, wants revenge, got his revenge (killed off the guy who was after his mom), is just a soldier who takes orders, and doesn’t have a sense of belonging. He is a weak (originally proposed love with Ae-shin to get back at Hee-seung) and at times arrogant man (“because I can”), that can’t pay Ae-shin a proper compliment: “the plum flowers are more beautiful”!? He has held back his emotions every single time and don’t forget he is the guy who enters through the door. Passion? Zero. A sense of obligation towards Ae-shin, yes but only because that’s the ONLY way to her heart, and he happened to fall in love. He only helps out when it doesn’t get in the way of his job.

Now least we forget Eugene betrays Ae-shin in ep 3 “He never needed to catch the culprit who killed Logan — he just needed the circumstances of the assassination so he could frame the Righteous Army because he’s already achieved his goal.”

Ae-shin needed a “rebellious romance” ep. 12 and Eugene is a nice distraction. KES did one on all of us with the Eugene-Ae-Shin love story (I was invested for a long while too). But...reset. Love is not about wanting to be with someone. It’s about being there for someone for what THEY want (with or without you). And only Hee-seung is the true heroic lover because he realizes this and releases Ae-shin from the engagement. He does it because she wants it, and he loves her.

Eugene is a typical pouty lover who only cares about himself, “I’m sad, I’m mad, you didn’t come on time, it’s been 6 month”. Hee-seung on the other hand is a selfless lover. At this point KES has convinced me Eugene doesn’t deserve her, cos he just...

7
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

TBH, I think all three guys do not deserve Ae-Shin. That is my opinion.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Damn, what an amazing and insightful comment. Thank you for turning my impression of Eugene and Ae-sin on it’s head. (Totally agreed about Hui-seong — I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on Dong-mae.)

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

GB: OMG I thought you’d never ask! I don’t know if you are asking me, but I’ll assume you are. I have so many thoughts on Gu Dong-mae…where do I start?

Full disclosure, I love Dong-mae. I love his evil smiles, his naughty smiles, his smirks, the way he talks, the way he walks, the way he broods, and even his crazy Japanese hairstyle, sword and outfit. Yep total infatuation. Ok now that we have that out of the way…

Dong-mae has many similarities with Eugene obviously, same, very painful, childhood of humiliation. The difference is Dong-mae is very self-aware. First he knows has no chance with Ae-shin ever. Second he knows he was wrong about Ae-shin but doesn’t know how to apologize to her for calling her “a noble fool who lives in luxury”. Third he’s accepted that he’ll never have her and is content just to have a reason to SEE her.

Because he’s accepted this tragic circumstance of unrequited love, he has enormous pent up passion for Ae-shin and equally un-controllable aggression towards himself that no matter what, he’ll always be a butcher to the people of Joseon. Add to that, Dong-mae is forever in-debt to Ae-shin but has no way of actually repaying the debt. – its a lose-lose place to be at.

Dong-mae is a dreamer at heart, he dreams of sharing a gobstopper while walking the streets with Ae-shin and it makes him smile, no actually giddy! He dreams of having her but they emerge as anger instead (when he catches her skirt, or grips her red hair lace), because he knows that can never be. He is just trying to live up to his name as the paid-thug that he is. Also proof that he is a big softie? Gives Hina a piggy back ride (how cute was that?!?).

SIDE NOTE: notice that the two times Dong-mae’s had Ae-shin’s apparel in his hands it has been RED – the color of passion itself! Could that be a just a coincidence? I’m gonna pretend it was intentional!!

What I love about DM and Ae-shin, is the way they look at each other in the scenes they have together. It’s pure-fierce-passion, rage, and some might even say *ahem* sexual tension that you could cut with a knife…haha! Dong-mae looks at Ae-shin like she is something to eat, and any moment he might just lose control and devour her. I’m not too sure if poor Ae-shin can hold back either. Lol, love me some Dong-mae! Seriously.

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dong-mae and Eugene are 2 sides of a coin.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

"The push back on why Ae-shin lies to Eugene is a pretty archaic way to look at relationships and at the core of misogynist-thinking. Just because she fell in love and had a romance with Eugene she should not use him. Why? Cos she is a woman and thus she has to have empathy? Please. Rebels use everyone and everything to stay alive."

I don't know about everyone else, but for me the reasoning behind why she shouldn't use him isn't "because she's a woman" so much as "because it's a horrible thing to use any human being, let alone a friend". I don't think we can compare what the rebels (in this show) have done to what Ae Shin did, because whatever they did, they did to people they didn't know personally. Even when they decided to betray Eugene, the impact isn't the same because they don't have any real relationship with him (except maybe Eun-San, but even then, I'm not sure how strong the attachment is from his side). On the other hand, Ae Shin and Eugene know each other pretty well. He's helped her out many times (yes, in the beginning it was because it also helped him, but he's increasingly done things that wouldn't necessarily benefit him, just because of her). It's awful that she resorts to lying to him/using him, when she knows him and I'm sure she knows that he would still say yes to her request even if she lays it out straight. I mean, the guy said yes while *knowing full well* that she was lying to him, so why would he not accept her request if she asks for it straight out? That's what I don't get. If she was a good judge of character, she would know that she doesn't need to trick him this way to get what she wants. Less lies for her, less pain for him. Win-win. Then again, it's not like Ae Shin has ever been the best judge of character, seeing as she misjudged and doubted Hee Sung, and only saw his true intentions when he came out and said out loud "I'm doing this for you".

[Btw, Eugene is one of my least favourite characters in this show (I'm more of a Hee Sung and Hina fan), so I'm not writing this because I like his character. Even as a non-fan of Eugene, I thought that was needlessly cruel of her.]

2
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

“Eugene being used” assertions are based on an incomplete last scene and a preview – we don’t actually know if she told him why she wants him to take her to America, details many still emerge in ep 21. She might be trying to protect him for all we know. Given that Eugene says “how much more do you wanna use me” he knows she has a different agenda and hence, is just playing victim (typical Eugene). Either way, it doesn’t matter. Ae-shin should use him, because that’s the way the world works and it's really not that big of a deal. The fact that she loves him but can still think straight enough to use him is probably breaking her heart, but it also makes her both human and focused on her goals. What exactly does Eugene have to offer to her other than that? If it was Hee-seung or Dong-mae, they’d be begging to be used by Ae-shin!

As for Ae-shin’s ability to judge character, she doesn’t reject Hee-seung because she doubts him or doesn’t see who “he is”. She does it so she can continue helping Joseon and I think she is actually thoughtful about it. Technically she saved Hee-seung from a lot of complications by having the engagement annulled. Imagine if she went through with it? Uhh….there’d be a big ol’ target on Hee-seung’s back.

Ae-shin def. recognizes Hee-Seung’s valor and loyalty to her, cuz she says: “I don’t believe in the might of the pen, but I’ll root for you”. What exactly is she supposed to do about it other than thank him (which she has many times) and support him? Ae-shin fell for Eugene BEFORE Hee-seoung arrived on the scene. Her priorities are simple: country, family, comrades. Romance is a nice to have, that’s just not realistic right this min.

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

We don’t need a longer scene to see that he’s being used, we have enough elements to infer this. A) We know she needs to get to Japan to complete her mission, B) we see her tell Eugene “Take me with you to the US” instead of “Help me get to Japan safely” and C) we get Eugene’s voiceover which shows that he realises he’s been used, but will do it for her anyways. I think that’s enough information to make a statement such as “she’s using Eugene”.

You *can* use someone, but that doesn’t mean you *should* use someone, especially if there is no logical reason for you to do so, because the person you’re trying to use would actually *willing* help you. Her doing that isn’t a show of her ability to “think straight” (an actual good example of her "thinking straight" is when she told Eugene earlier in that episode that she no longer has any futile hope or ideas of romance), neither does it make her focused on her goals - it just makes her needlessly cruel and also shows that she doesn’t understand how Eugene thinks.

Why would a mentally healthy human be happy to be used this way? How does that make sense? It's understandable for a human to feel hurt at being used, regardless of whether they go along with it anyways or not - which is what Eugene is doing; he's hurt, but he's doing what she asks anyways, because he likes her/wants to help her. Dong Mae has some psychological issues he needs to deal with (I'm a psychology graduate, and he is definitely someone I'd recommend to take a session with a therapist) and has a twisted relationship with Ae Shin, so of course he’d be happy to be used, but I don’t think we can say that Hee Sung wouldn’t be hurt if he was put in the same situation. He’d want her to ask for help directly, not use subterfuge (which, by doing so, would prove that she doesn’t trust him). But like Eugene, he would still do what she asks. In fact if you go back to episode 11 to the scene where Hee Sung talks with Ae Shin about finding out her secret, Ae Shin is very doubtful about his intentions, and you can see Hee Sung looking saddened as Ae Shin misunderstands him and he asks her "Will you kill me?". That's coming from someone who knew that Ae Shin wasn't fond of him, so imagine how someone like Eugene would feel when he thought he and Ae Shin were at least somewhat close/sort-of-comrades?

Also, if in episode 3 Ae Shin was hurt to learn that Eugene had used her, why can’t we have the same consideration towards Eugene? If Ae Shin doesn’t like being used, then why use Eugene? If it's just the "way of the world" and "isn't that big of a deal", then why is Eugene using her a "Now, lest we forget..."? (As you said in your original post). At the time that Eugene had used her, they barely knew each other, so I can understand that this would be his method of choice. If Ae Shin had used Eugene back then too, I would have also understood. But it’s been almost two years since they know each other now – there is no need for...

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

there is no need for subterfuge, she can just outright ask him “can you help me get to so-and-so place?” What use is pretending when saying the truth will get her the exact same results?

It’s definitely not to protect him, because Eugene not knowing that he’s embarking on a dangerous mission is NOT a protective action. If she really wanted him to be safe, she would tell him what the dangers are. And Eugene is a soldier, if anything it’s actually better if she tells him “Help me get to [this place]” - that would be more intelligent because he has skills that can aid her in getting to her destination. And she doesn’t even have to tell him all the details, because he’s worked with the Righteous Army before, and as a soldier he knows that certain information has to remain hidden. A simple “Let me go with you so I can complete a mission” or “Get me to this place” would suffice, and he would be more than willing to help her. There is just no need whatsoever for her to lie.

When I mentioned Ae Shin judging Hee Sung's character, I wasn't talking about her rejecting him as a suitor. Like you said, she had already fallen in love with Eugene and Hee Sung had been away for 10 years, so I didn't expect her to accept Hee Sung just because he was back. What I was referring to is her judging him as soon as she met him - calling him weak and fragile as soon as they met each other, and always assuming that he would try to force her into the marriage. Even in the scenes in episode 11 that I was referring to earlier, she thought Hee Sung telling her that he received her suits was a threat. Even when they were in the tram she didn't get that he wasn't threatening her until Hee Sung laid it out and said "I'll be your shadow" and "If things get difficult, run to me and hide" at which point she's like "Oh, so it was a gift". Even though just before that Hee Sung had mentioned that "this [was him] thanking [her] for them" and had not been an ounce threatening during that conversation. But even after that, even after seeing how he wanted to protect her without forcing the marriage (staying as her fiancé, yes, but not actually marrying her), she still thought that he wouldn't stop the wedding. The scene in episode 16 when they're kneeling outside of Grandfather's room, Ae Shin thinks that his "I made up my mind to do something bad" means that he's going to force her into the marriage (I had thought that "doing something bad" referred to his breaking the engagement, as this would be bad for her and for both families, but it seems this possibility did not enter Ae Shin's mind), when all he meant was that there would be no flower at the end of his path. Hee Sung even asked her "Why can't you trust me?" Which was the same question I asked myself. She looked so shocked at his good intentions that I wondered if she had ever really understood or reflected on Hee Sung's actions prior to that moment.

Also, I disagree about Ae Shin rejecting...

0

Also, I disagree about Ae Shin rejecting Hee Sung because she wanted to continue helping Joseon - Hee Sung literally provided her with a way of continuing to work with the Righteous Army and protecting Joseon while remaining a noblewoman (the noble status which had always provided her cover, and which she'd mentioned a few times - people would never question her because she was 'Lady Ae Shin'). If she really rejected him only because she wanted to be of help to Joseon, then why would she tell her Grandfather that her heart belonged to someone else? Why would she say she wants to walk alongside Eugene, when he wasn't offering her anything more than Hee Sung? Also, in what way would marrying Hee Sung make him a target? A target to whom? If anything, if Ae Shin had married Hee Sung she wouldn't have been considered as part of Go family anymore, which may have given her more protection when her Grandfather got targeted by Wanik.

Your example of Ae Shin recognising Hee Sung's valor and loyalty comes from episode 20 - of course she can say things like "I don't believe in the might of the pen, but I'll root for you" after she's seen him offer her protection, annul the engagement, and fight alongside her family members (and almost die doing so). That doesn't show her being a good judge of character, because she only saw his good qualities after he repeatedly told AND showed her what his intentions were. I never expected her to fall in love with Hee Sung. I just never liked how she kept assuming the worst of him, and only began to see him in a more positive after he annulled the engagement.

0

@Mete I started with an “unpopular-view” and so I am not surprised that you just do not see the story the way I am seeing it and I think that is the beauty of art and cinema. It does one thing for me and another thing for you. We have the freedom to experience it in our own way.

I also think future episodes only reinforce my viewpoints about the key characters and I obviously can’t agree with your points. I just love the way KES is writing Aeshin’s character, and am even more in love with the way Kim Taeri is able to portray her. Clearly not everyone sees it as I do.

However, I think what’s most important is that I am highly entertained and fulfilled by the characters in this show and I wish you the same level of enjoyment.

0

I am confused: Ae Shin wanted to love with Eugene and he did just that. She told me she will always be Lady Ae Shin no matter what, he said fine I am glad you are in my life. She told him she wants to burn and wilt, he gave her a gun. How is he not doing what she wants?
Also, she was in distress, he wanted to be her the same way she wanted so badly to be him when he lost Joseph she begged her master to help her. He sent her a letter during his grief to tell her what's up because they are a couple.
When he told her, he started to resent her, they were having one of their many honest conversations, he was not accusing or lecturing. Eugene is always on the side of fairness. I mean...is he not allowed to miss her? how can u stop that feeling?
Now, I see your point and agree about the double standard about the lie, still it is a cold move.
Finally, it is ok to love Hee Sun but the idea that he is a great guy because he cancelled the wedding to a woman who repeatedly told him she does not want him and could not care less to about him to the point of kneeling all day is kinda far fetched.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My neighbors wondered what the loud cheer was when Wan-Ik died. It was satisfying that Ae-Sin killed him.

7
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was so satisfying once she finally got that third bullet in him. Horrible bastard.

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Whenever I see scenes like that, I always say to the character, "Put 2 bullets in the head!"

They never listen

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

In Won-ik's case, a stake through the heart would not have been overdoing it.

Whoever plugs Mori Takashi better use silver bullets, just to be on the safe side.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

This episode is a great drinking game and should be called killing episode. One person die you drink... Other than that, I am glad that Lee Wan Ik died in this episode . Other than that, I am waiting to see which guy will die for Ae-Shin.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ae Shin wanted to use Eugene, and tells him to bring her to America.

This is what I think.

I think Eugene knew what Ae Shin was thinking, and he knew she knew he knew what she was thinking.

5
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think you are right. He keeps taking one more step into the flame.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Not only he keeps taking one more step in the flame, she also keeps travelling far...
The whole situation to me reminds me of when Eugene decided to do love with Ae Shin: he got himself the perfect excuse to say yes(when he said yes, he never abused it for someone who was looking for revenge), he even wondered if it was revenge or jealousy...
Even her saying there is always a way came from thinking of him. This is a good excuse for her to be with him even if it is just for a little while.
I do admire Ae Shin: she carries the resolve of her family in fighting for Joseon and is a lot like her grand-father

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well said. I am hoping that she doesn't crush him to pieces. This author has broken my heart before. I hope she goes to America and raises money for the cause. As an American citizen she could be a great international assasin. She has lost all but few of her family, that sounds like PTSD to me. Au Sin has spoken of a sorrowful closure through out the story so it wont be a surprise,

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for the wonderful recaps. I know the history, so there is no happy ending for Joseon, but I wonder if any of the characters will salvage one.
Speaking of history, they need to edit the scene in Episode 20 where Eugene gets his orders to return to the United States. The President’s first name should be Theodore, President of the US in 1904 - not Franklin D. - President during WWII.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for your recap and comments, dramallama.

I appreciate your mentioning the involvement of traitorous ministers Lee Geun-taek and Minister Kwon Joon-hyun in the Eulsa Treaty. How ironic that they badmouth Lee Wan-ik, but are just as much Benedict Arnolds as he is.

Hina is meticulous. I couldn't figure out why she told Dr. Machiyama to pick up the envelope. Ah, she verified his handedness. Nice. In this episode in particular, I feel as if I'm watching REILLY, ACE OF SPIES -- with Hina in Sam Neill's epic fingernail-chomping role.

As soon as Dong-mae's boss from the Mushin Society arrived in Hanseong, I got the uneasy feeling that he might be ordered to commit seppuku. Boss addresses him as "son." Is this good news or bad news? Color me paranoid.

“Let it be known that a Joseon Righteous Army member saved a Japanese colonel.” -- What utterly delicious irony. The icing on the cake was Jumo's / Hong-pa's red ribbon.

I agree that Wan-icky's demise was anticlimactic. The sensation that Ae-shin was dawdling in a crosswalk as the Truck Of Doom bore down on them was just plain irritating. Shoot him and get it over with.

It occurs to me that the mountain that Minister Lee gave to Eugene may well end up as the Righteous Army's Arlington National Cemetery. Hong-Pa / Jumo may be just the first of the Unknown Soldiers interred there. I have a feeling that it will be the final resting place for all too many of our characters.

4
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

There is a term called Gikyodai, sworn brother, in the Yakuza society. I can understand that Don mae's relationship with Oyabun( boss) is Gikyoudai but father and son? Did he really adopt Donmae so that he can have a Japanese name or Japanese nationality? There are so many elements in this drama that I have many doubts of.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@akikoz atz,

"Son" was the term that was used in the subtitles I read. It may not be the script. It could be the translations.

Thanks for the background on Gikyodai, sworn brother. That makes more sense to me than adoption. Or perhaps Mushin Society has its own "family register."

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

re;Or perhaps Mushin Society has its own "family register."

I doubt it. One has to be adopted into a family in order to be a member of the family. A company or society cannot make it, I believe. In real Japan, only few are willing to adopt someone who is not blood related. In the old time, this practice must have been almost non existent, sadly.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am deeply impressed by the performance of Lee Ho-ja role as Go Sa-hong. Outstanding on so many levels: He is the patriarch in the best sense of the word, the adorable doting Grandpa of his darling granddaughter. He is a scholar, a strategist and a statesman of his day. It is a well written part to be sure but Lee Ho-ja brings brute craftsmanship to the role. When he was beating Dong-mae with a broom his outrage was dignified. When he shows up at the door of his granddaughter's home and sees her being beaten by her despicable husband, he was spontaneous and manly as he verbally eviscerates him. I looked forward to his performance every time he was in a scene. Wow, an actor with chops.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm getting bored with the one sided depiction of Japanese people as mindless scum whose sole intention & purpose in life is to oppress the people of Joseon. Everything about the show is grand but the writing of the villains has been lazy. And since the villians are a major plot point/device/characters, it feels like lazy writing.

Money and grand sets can't cover up everything.

0
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

Seems like an accurate depiction of colonizers to me

0
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Coming from a former British colony myself, I disagree. Humans are more nuanced and complex than that. As, I assume, are the individual people doing the colonising. In its depiction of violent racist & oppressive attitudes, I agree the Show is pretty accurate but there is so much more depth that can be given to the Japanese colonisers that has just been ignored. They are all the same person. They are caricatures here, not real people.

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

What part of comfort women stations don't you understand?
Any country can have a nervous breakdown and it manifests itself in remarkably similar ways. Read Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence 1st Edition by Martha Minow . The Japanese were crazzzzzy and killing their own soldiers for letting down the Emperior actualy happened. Germany was not an isolated case of mob insanity. The reason they look the same person is because they are part of a group psychosis.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

And you missed my comment where I said the show is correct in its depiction of violent racist and oppressive attitudes.

Your response makes me think the characterisation has been done from a solely Korean perspective. I meant that there is nothing more to the Japanese people in the Show. They are ONLY colonisers - with nothing else they want from life but subjugate and oppress and exploit the people of a neighbouring land. They are not human in that there is nothing more to their characters. As an example, what about Internal power struggles within the Japanese that could.be used/manipulated to help Joseon -whether or not any Japanese side wants to help them. Another example, Where are the women? All the Japanese characters (except the women in brothels and entertainment houses) are men. Kudo Hina is originally from Joseon and I only half count her.

And so on.

1

Point taken. Your perspective is interesting. I do see some evolution of the character of the Colonel. He was quite the man about town when he lived in New York, he seemed to be friendly towards Eugene. Then as fate and chance would have it there he is in Korea with another side of his personality exposed. The fascist side. Also maybe we will see a more dimensional side of the Japanese when Eugene and Ae-sin get there. I always thought it was amazing that the people who ran the concentration camps read stories to their kids at night and tucked them in. I guess any thing is possible once you drink the Kool Aid. The part that gets me is the Japaneses justified the invasion in order to "modernize Korea." That's what the Americans did to "help" the Native Americans. It is the desecration of the spiritual places of the land of your forefathers that causes the generational trauma that is so hard to transcend after the devestation.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks. I'm glad I was able to explain what I meant - I'd hate to be thought of as justifying the atrocities that were committed half then.
"the Japaneses justified the invasion in order to "modernize Korea." That's what the Americans did to "help" the Native Americans. "

Ugh so true! This is the common excuse used even today. The World Bank for instance likes to say to small struggling nations, "We're here to help you. We'll give you all of this money if you adopt our conditions to help you better your economy - Open your borders, free trade, promote healthy competition for the best economy." Never mind that free trade has gone on to destroy local economies while only benefiting certain nations.

Today's colonisation uses the same words but different methods.

Thanks for the perspective re Colonel Mori. Very good point.

1

Comment was deleted

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Where money is involved people can justify the most horrible actions, Bankers as a breed are a shady lot in my opinion
In the US there is a moral imperative that is being ignored. The question is why educate or provide employment when other countries have a ready work force that will work for less money. and where no capital of your own is invested in the physical plants . Money grows and cost nothing to cultivate. The human capital infrastructure is failing and as a result, although the US economy monolithic , living standards are sliding downward. Look at the result, it is causing social pressures that aren't healthy.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

My only big objection to the Japanese in the series is the lack of discipline. The horrible crimes they keep committing . . . well, they are not nearly as horrible as the crimes they committed historically. But most of them didn't do it because they were snarling degenerates and screaming manics. Even when they were massacring people at funerals and executing protesters and assassinating scholars. They mostly acted with hat cold-blooded, wooden-headed veneer of duty that was still troubling the allies when they sailed into Tokyo Harbor and wondering if some diehard would try to crash a plane into the surrender ceremony.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hmm...interesting point. And a good one.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Another good episode, although I am worried that the writer might not know how to end the series.

Will Aesin survive? She would be 69 if she manages to get out and return to see Korea liberated in 1945. But she seems determined to go down fighting.

Eugene may well not make it. He seems to have had a lonely life until he returned to Joseon. No mention of a wife or friends outside of the Marines.

Hui Song seems to be just drifting through the series. At some point he might need to play a role other than the guy who wanders into scenes after they get going.

Mori tends to remind me too much of the Japanese characters from 1940s war movies. The thing is, the Japanese who committed all the horrible atrocities in conquering nations all over Asia were not raving maniacs. They were themselves horrors created by a culture of normalized racism and brutality. Around this time, you have the Germans who drove thousands of Herero families into the Nambib Desert to die of thirst or the Belgians who hacked the limbs off Congolese to make them work harder on rubber plantations, or the Americans who used to bring their kids to watch lynchings in Mississippi.

Many of the photos we have of Japanese army officers slaughtering Chinese prisoners in 1937 were snapshots taken by their fellow officers. And sent home to impress their families.

To clarify, in the case the history wanders away from people: the United States was not an ally of Japan or anyone else in 1904. Most of the world was run by tyrants and imperialists and murders. That was the way it had always been. The Americans didn't make up their minds to do something about that until 1940.

The United States It was a powerful nation economically at this time, but not militarily, at least not in the Pacific. Its fleet was in the Atlantic, ready to fight the British, Germans, and French. The Japanese nationalists you see in the show were the rational ones. The extremists in Japan were talking about seizing the Philippines, invading Hawaii, and shelling San Francisco and San Diego to punish the Yankees for criticizing their empire-building.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree. My family hid Jewish people in the root cellar of their little house in Denmark and helped them get to Sweden in fishing boats. I am proud that my ancestors were on the right side of history. It would have been really disheartening if they hadn't. I believe we can collectively grow and become a better people and better nations if we work at it and speak up. I have to belive that.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

What exactly IS the deal with Hina's husband's autopsy report?
Eugene brought it to Heena to burn but wasn't that the fake anyway which says what Hina wants it to say? If it is the real (original) one, didn't Hina take that during her battle with Aeshin in Ronoie's house, and how is it in Eugene's possession?

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *