Mr Sunshine Episode 24 Recap (Series Finale)
A Seating arrangement has been made below the throne at the king’s court. The officials walk in to get their pictures taken. Al the traitors are present and Lee Ji Yong (among the officials) says that the photographer is the grandson of Kim-Hyeon Seob, a former minister at the Palace. Hui Seung stands with his camera and the others ask why he is doing a petty job like this. Hui Seung says that there is no other honour than writing history. They tell him to take a good picture as it is for the history books. As Hui Seung gets ready to shoot, he says with a grim look that they will be remembered for generations. He shoots the photos.
At night, Deok mun lies dead at Hwawollu as Eugene removes the list from Deok mun’s pocket. He gets up as Dong mae walks in saying he knew someone will die in this room (Taylor was killed in the same room). Eugene says he took Hwawollu back for Dong mae. He says it may have some blood on it, but it is his. They hear more gunshots.
Ae-shin (in disguise) runs on the roof as she hears the gunshots to see what is happening. She sees the Japanese soldiers shooting down Haman, Mr Haengrang and the others and is shocked.
On the streets, the Japanese soldiers walk over to them and find that the palanquin is empty. They then move out of the place. After they are gone, Ms Haman opens her eyes and Looks at Mr Haengrang’s hand. She tells him that he won’t have to wait long and that she will join him soon. She cries as she gets no response.
The soldiers report to Hasegawa that the palanquin was empty and Hasegawa is enraged when he learns that the victims were unarmed. He says that either his men should have brought the bodies or left weapons by their sides to make it look like they were mobs. He asks his men to follow him and starts riding.
Back on the streets, the civilians find that Ms Haman is still alive and they help her. Ae-shin walks from the crowd in her male outfit (minus her mask) and kneels next to Mr Haengrang. She walks over and holds Haman asking what she is doing here. Haman addresses Ae-shin as “my lady” and everyone is surprised hearing this. Haman says that she wanted everyone at the camp and Ae-shin to survive this. Ae-shin starts crying and tries to stop the bleeding. Haman says that the baby that cried in the rain came into her arms. She says the baby took her first steps and flashed her pretty smile. She says that watching Ae-shin by her side became the purpose of her life. She says it’s also, what she will die for. She says now that she saw Ae-shin’s face, she will die now. Ae-shin bawls as she holds Haman who lies dead in her arms.
The civilians hear the Japanese soldiers come back and they start to move but Ae-shin doesn’t get up. Eugene and Dong mae come running to check what the gunshots were. They come in time to see Ae-shin crying holding Haman. The civilians cover both Ae-shin and Haman with a coat and gather in front hiding Ae-shin from the view of the Japanese soldiers.
The civilians form a human chain when they see the Japanese soldiers aiming their guns at them. Dong mae and Eugene watch the scene.
Eugene’s voiceover narrates, “Joseph, the Joseon people haven’t changed at all.”
We cut to flashback as Eugene had read a document about the Ganghwa battle before coming to Joseon as an acting counsel, “The enemies are still desperately trying to fight back, even in the face of crushing defeat. Despite being on the verge of losing, there has not been a single deserter.”
We see a montage of the Ganghwa battle and the present day human chain. The people are scared but they still hold their ground.
Eugene’s voiceover continues to read the document, “Even though cornered, by the overwhelming military powers of our forces, the enemies keep getting back up time and time again under the battle flag of their general.”
Eugene remembers telling Ae-shin when she wanted to save the geisha, that saving one woman won’t save Joseon. Ae-shin had been determined to save the geisha because one day the geisha would become like her.
Eugene’s voiceover continues, “The country that woman protected with her life is now protecting her.”
The people continue to stand still despite being threatened. The English teacher is also among the people. Hasegawa realises that the people aren’t going to move and he lowers his gun. He orders his men to move out as these people will be killed by Japan anyway. After the soldiers leave, they all breathe a sigh of relief.
Eugene says that he will need a horse. Dong mae responds that the Japanese army has a lot.
2 Japanese soldiers on horseback stop as they see Eugene and Dong mae blocking their way. Eugene says that he will take the left and Dong mae says he will take the right. The soldiers wonder what they are discussing but before that Dong mae throws a knife at one of the soldiers killing him instantly. Eugene has his pistol in his hand and looks at Dong mae who says that he wasn’t aiming to kill but he is out of touch. Dong mae asks if Eugene isn’t going to shoot. Eugene says he needn’t because he drew out the gun faster. He asks the man to get off the horse.
Dong mae puts both the unconscious men on one horse and sends the horse to the Japanese Legation before walking away.
Elsewhere, Eugene tells Ae-shin that he will give her a ride as there will be checkpoints. Ae-shin says that she will go alone as she wants Eugene to be safe as an American. She says it’s dangerous to be around her. She says that Ms Haman and Mr Haengrang weren’t supposed to die for her cause. She says she is afraid to see more deaths. He asks her to get prepared. He asks her to get ready to witness anyone’s death as that is how wars are. He tells her to go safely to their comrades’ rendezvous point. He asks her not to worry about Ms Haman and Mr Haengrang as he will give them a proper send off. She asks him to treat them well.
Meanwhile, Ae-shin’s comrades set camp for the night. They have raw barley for food. Some say that Ae-shin left with her people. Some of them say that them being like this won’t help the country. Another man asks him to stop being negative and says that they are living. They go silent as they hear horse hoofs. Ae-shin rides towards them. She says that she has accomplished her mission. She says that since everyone here is alive; Mr Haengrang’s mission was a success. She says that none of them survived. Eun san asks her to get a hold of herself as he says that they saved people and shows the children playing in the water. He says it’s their turn to protect them now and Ae-shin acknowledges. A woman comes up and takes Ae-shin away. One of the men says he is craving horsemeat.
Elsewhere, Eugene burns Mr Haman and Mr Haengrang’s belongings and he remembers the time he spent with them. He puts Haman’s shoes in the fire and removes his cap in respect and says he hopes they rest in peace. He says that if they happen to meet his mother, he asks them to give the wooden hairpin (he had carved it as a child) to her. He throws the hairpin into the fire too.
Dong mae sits with his opium underneath the painting in his room. He counts his days, “Five days.”
As Hui Seung prints the newspaper, his voiceover reads the article which says, “the Japanese framed 6 innocent Koreans as the mob and slaughtered them with guns. They will not stop their brutal tyranny as they are in control of the law. My fellow 20 million Koreans, I know you are terrified, but we must fight, like thunder and storm. Like a storm!”
Hui Seung’s staff comes and asks him if he is sure of distributing that as the Japanese are intensifying the press law and have even banished a British reporter. Hui Seung says that is the fate of people who speak the truth. He asks her not to worry as that is why he never named his newspaper. The woman smiles and jokes that she might have chosen the wrong place to work. Hui Sueng laughs as she walks away.
Hui Seung looks at the entrance and sees Eugene walk in. Hui Seung calls Eugene as, “Room 304”. Eugene says he is back for something he had left with Hui Seung. Hui Seung gives Eugene the case that the Emperor presented to Eugene. Eugene learns that Choon-sik and Ll-sik have gone into hiding. Hui Seung says that Eugene had given Hui Seung something extremely valuable for holding the case (gestures the camera). Eugene hands over the list of Righteous army members. He says its a hit list if it is in the hands of the Japanese but in Hui Seung’s hands, it will be recorded in history. He tells Hui Seung that it will sell for good money and asks him to choose wisely. Hui Seung offers to buy Eugene a drink. They both laugh as Eugene asks if Hui Seung is really paying this time.
Eugene and Hui Seung head to the bar and Hui Seung stops in his tracks saying he recognises those shoulders (Dong mae). Hui Seung runs over to Dong mae and Dong mae smiles asking if this is the only bar in town. Hui Seung says that he is delighted to see Dong mae. Eugene comments that Hui Seung wasn’t this delighted when he saw Eugene. Hui Seung says that he heard rumours that Gu-Dong mae had returned and taken back Hwalollu. Eugene taps Hui Seung and says that he was the one who got Hwawollu back. Hui Seung doesn’t even respond to Eugene and continues to ask Dong mae to rest. Eugene gives up and turns to pour himself a drink.
Hui Seung orders expensive drinks saying that he will pay. Dong mae asks if he really is paying. Eugene asks Hui Seung to take out his wallet, as he always gets drunk first and leaves. Hui Seung says that it is not that he didn’t want to buy drinks and money was never an issue. He holds Eugene and Dong mae and says that back then he didn’t have these two. He said he was waiting for comrades. He asks them to raise their glasses together as comrades. Dong mae and Eugene clink their glasses to Hui Seungs and start drinking. Hui Seung says that now he is flustered. Both of them smile as Hui Seung says that he expected them to draw out their gun and sword again. He asks them to raise their glasses ones again and Eugene laughs as they raise their glasses again.
They continue to drink as Eugene’s voiceover says, “The first English words she learnt were gun, glory and sad ending. We may have taken different paths, but it was our destiny to end up together.”
The boys distribute the “Special Edition” by throwing it from a top of a building. Some people read it and a few of them don’t. Dong mae, Hui Seung and Eugene watch the papers fall from the building as the voiceover continues, “The steps we took resembled who we are. The article one wrote instead of a will (Hui Seung), opium that burned through ones broken body in the amount of life he had left (Dong-mae), the Korean flag that was given to a man who was forever a foreigner (Eugene). will our final destination be somewhere between glory and a sad ending? Maybe we just didn’t know how to stop or perhaps we had no reason to stop. Maybe it was patriotism. It was a hot summer night that blossomed a friendship which didn’t exist before.”
At his office, Ito throws the special edition and says that one line from this newspaper raises the spirits of Koreans. Hasagawa says that the newspaper was distributed at midnight and it has no name. Lee Ji Yong suggests that they should spread posters of the mobs with a heavy reward for their capture. Ito Hirobumi seems interested.
A voiceover narrates, “Anyone who spots these mobs can report to the Resident-General and the Japanese police for a prize. Fifty won for names and location of the base. 100 for those who arrest them. “
The people see the wanted posters. Eugene and Gwan su overhear them discussing hunting down the righteous army.
Eugene and Gwan-su walk on the street and Gwan su says Su-mi wants to join the righteous army rather than being in the palace. Eugene says that the palace is safer. He says that he will contact Gwan su and he can help her leave.
At the bakery, Dong mae pays the tab for the candy. The baker says that it is too much and Dong mae says that he is throwing away the rest of his money. He says he has no use for it. He asks the baker to take the money and do business for a long time.
Dong mae walks away and suddenly coughs blood. He falls down on the street.
He wakes up in his house and sees Eugene. Eugene says that it was hard to carry him home and Dong mae sits up. Dong mae asks if Eugene dragged him because his back hurts. Eugene says that Dong mae threw up a lot of blood. Dong mae asks him to pretend as if he didn’t see it. Eugene says he can’t because he saw it. Eugene says he replaced the bandage but he can’t treat the wound and Dong mae thanks him. Dong mae says that he can’t die today even if he wanted to as it is the 15th of the month. Eugene asks him to take care of himself and starts to leave. Dong mae asks him to take care as well. Dong mae says he is really concerned for Eugene’s safety despite himself being in such a mess. Eugene says that he should hate Dong mae but is growing fond of him. Dong mae smiles as Eugene leaves.
As Eugene walks out of Hwawollu, someone calls his name. He turns and sees a westerner who introduces himself as Frederick Arthur McKenzie, a war correspondent with the Daily Mail, from the UK. He says he has a favour to ask and says he is searching for the Righteous army of Joseon to cover their story but couldn’t find them. He says he was told that Eugene knows to reach them. Eugene asks him who told him that and he has no reason to help Fredrick. Fredrick says that the man told him to say, “how is the picnic Eugene?” if Eugene asks him. Eugene realises that Kyle has sent him as it’s the same words Eugene and Kyle had spoken to each other.
Eugene and Frederick walk through the woods and he asks Eugene if he is one of the Righteous Army and Eugene says he is not. Eugene says that he is just a foreigner passing through Joseon. Suddenly they are surrounded by the Righteous Army. Ae-shin is also present.
Eugene introduces Frederick as the correspondent who wants to cover their story. He explains that the enemies are burying their heinous crimes. He says that the other countries will know about them and the problems that Joseon is facing this way. When they do not agree, Ae-shin interferes and says that she is the one who had asked Eugene to bring Frederick here. She says she agrees with Eugene. She says that though the world doesn’t care, they should tell their story. She says they should tell about their steps in helping Joseon regain sovereignty. The blacksmith agrees to do it.
At a secluded place, the blacksmith gives an interview about their achievements and losses. Eugene (acts as an interpreter) asks if they think they can win against Japan. He says that the members are brave but they do not have weapons and are running out of bullets. He says they are aware that they will all die if they go on like this. He says they want to die as free men rather than Japanese slaves. One of them asks Frederick to buy weapons for them. Eugene translates that Frederick cannot help either side because he is a war correspondent. He also says he needs a picture of all of them together. As they take the picture, he says that this will probably be the only photograph of the Righteous Army.
Later, Ae-shin smiles and thanks Eugene. She says she will pay him back and he says that she already did as he saw her smile. He says he risked his life for her shoe.
Ae-shin remembers him putting her shoe on for her when she ran to see him after he met Lord Go Sa-hong.
At present, she asks him if that was the beginning for him and says that’s quite late. She says she should go as her comrades are waiting. Eugene looks at her as she leaves.
He remembers not pulling the trigger on her when he faced her on the rooftop the day Taylor was shot dead.
Ae-shin turns around and pulls out the ring that she wears on her neck. Eugene smiles as he sees it and shows his hand and she sees that he is wearing the ring. She smiles and walks away.
Dong mae sits at the tea shop and waits for Ae-shin as he remembers her dressing his wound in Japan. He sits there till nightfall and the streets become deserted. The shop owner comes up and Dong mae says that he is leaving. Just then, a gloved hand places a coin on the table.
Dong mae looks up and Ae-shin says that she is here to make her payment. He says he thought she won’t come. He says that she didn’t come on the 15th and this is the last day of the month. Dong mae takes the coin and says, “Now you have paid me back in full. You no longer need to come here.” She asks if he is planning to leave. She says she can help. He says she can’t help him and starts to leave. Ae-shin says she heard he wasn’t well and asks him to accept her help. He asks her if she wants him in her palanquin again and she doesn’t reply. He says, “This time, I refuse my lady.”
He says that his fate was decided this way the moment he joined Musin Society. He says she will be in danger if he gets into her palanquin. He says he will be the one being chased and he asks her to soar up high. She says that is the label of a “spoilt noble fool.” She asks him if he knows how much it had haunted her. Dong mae walks away slowly without responding.
At the base, Jun Yeong trains the members in shooting. Due to a shortage of rifles, he splits them into teams of two with one rifle each. He says that in case the shooter dies, the survivor has to pick up the rifle and fight.
Choon –sik and II-sik give the battle funds from all over the country along with a letter from South Gyeongsang province to Eun san. One of the men looks at this.
At night when everyone is asleep, he sneaks up to Eun san and takes the letter from his vest. He then runs away into the woods and stops to catch his breath. He opens the letter and it reads “in the name of 20 million compatriots, we must get rid of the spy.” He tries to run but Choon-sik and II-sik block the way. Choon sik kills the man with his sword. II-sik takes the letter from the dead man and they immediately run as they hear the footsteps.
They hide behind the trees and see the Japanese soldiers arrive. Choon-sik suggests that they run away. II-sik says that they are legends and they can’t do that. He says that the gunshots that will ring here should alert the people at the base and they should escape. Choon-sik says that they will fire at them even if they run away. He says that they even know the way around the woods. Ii-sik agrees and both of them brandish their swords yelling and the Japanese soldiers start shooting and chasing them. They both run away into the woods.
This alerts the base and they move again.
At the foreigner’s cemetery, Eun-san tells Eugene that they had to move their base again. Eugene tells him about the bounty. Eun san asks him a favour because he isn’t a Joseon man. Eugene reminds him that Eun san tried to kill him because he wasn’t a Joseon man. Eun-san gives Eugene the battle funds and asks him for train tickets to Pyongyang. He says he needs 12 tickets and wants Eugene to buy them so that it doesn’t raise suspicion. He says he wants to send women, children, youngsters and Ae-shin. He says they are the future of Joseon.
Dong mae stands at the harbour with his swords in his hand. People start running as the swordsmen from the Musin Society approach. They come to stop before him and says that it’s good he is welcoming them. Dong mae says that they are a day late and he has been waiting for 10 days. The swordsman says that the weather was bad and the ship didn’t leave on time. Dong mae wonders if the heavens helped him or if it was Yang-Hwa (Hina).
The man orders to bring something. The men drag Dong-mae’s deputy’s body and throw it in front of Dong mae. They say that he was looking for Dong-mae in the mainland and that they should give him credit for his loyalty towards Dong-mae. Dong mae sees the bloody body and says, “this must be the last thing I ought to do here in the land of Joseon Yuzo.” Dong mae’s eyes tear up in rage as he says, “I can still slash anyone with my sword.”
Dong mae runs forward and starts killing everyone but he takes a few slashes himself. He continues to kill the men but gets stabbed in his abdomen. He falls to the ground but he says, “just one more” and continues to kill them. He manages to get up but is stabbed through the heart from behind. Dong mae coughs blood and falls to the ground.
He looks at the sky as he lies in the pool of his blood. He sees a vision of himself in the Judo Center when Ae-shin had come to pay him money. Dong mae smiles and we see a montage of him taking the coin from Ae-shin and Ae-shin saying, “That label of a “spoilt noble fool”. Do you know how much it haunted me?” we see a montage of them as children in the palanquin.
Tears form in Dong mae’s eyes as his voiceover says, “You see, I’m such a loser. I was hoping that you would’ve completely forgotten about it, but hearing that it had pained you so much makes me think that if I managed to make my mark even in a moment of your life like that, then I guess that is enough for me.” We see a montage of images showing Ae-shin and Dong-mae as Dong mae dies.
The Japanese swordsmen standing over Dong mae vow to destroy Joseon and run into the city. They walk into the city and a rider on Horseback ties Dong mae’s body and drags it along.
We see the image of a younger Dong mae walk into Joseon with his men simultaneously as the body of adult Dong mae is being dragged along below. Slowly all of Dong mae’s men disappear until just the young Dong mae remains. The younger Dong mae (spirit) looks at the body of his elder version being dragged along from above. He then continues to walk and then he also disappears.
Eun Sang sits all the members down and tells them that they have weapons in Manchuria. Song Yeong and Lee Jeong mun are there. He plans on bringing the weapons here. He says that Japan has control over Southern Manchuria and that’s why they can’t carry out the plan. He says they have to go to Manchuria. It starts raining. He says that they only have matchlock weapons and if it rains during battles, they will all die. He says that they must steel themselves for what is coming.
He splits them into platoons. He names Sang-mik, Mu-Geol and Ae-shin as captains. Eun san says that Ae-shin’s team will leave in 3 days and that he has got the train tickets. He says that they will have to go to their base there safely. He then tells Joon Yeong and Jin-guk to go into town and get Japanese military uniforms. He tells them to make sure to get their comrades on the train. He says that platoon one and two will meet the dismissed soldiers and will join the other platoons later.
It is still raining as Ae-shin gives raw barley to the kids. The mothers and the children thank her. Ae-shin lets the music box play and sits next to it. Everyone sits listening to the calming music from the music box.
Ae-shin gets up as she sees Eugene walk up to the camp. He gives the case with the Korean flag (given by the king) and says he has to return it to his owner. Eun san says that platoon 4 will be lead by this foreigner (Eugene). Everyone laughs as Eugene says that the number of members in platoon 4 is one and that is himself. Ae-shin smiles at Eugene who tips his hat and smiles back at her.
Later on, the members open the flag and lay it out. One of the kids falls on it and his muddy handprint imprints on the flag. A man asks the boy if he swears to become a patriot as he has imprinted his hand-seal and the boy agrees. Everyone laughs. All of them decide to imprint their handprints on the flag using the balsam ink that a woman is pounding.
Ae-shin puts out her hand and looks at the dye on her fingernails. Eugene comes over and puts his hand near hers. Ae-shin smiles and says that she hasn’t seen a man do it. Eugene says he has seen a man do it (Ae-shin). Ae-shin says that tomorrow she will be a man and asks him not to get stunned by her beauty. Eugene starts laughing.
At the train station, Ae-shin is dressed in women’s clothing. The Japanese soldiers are checking all the passengers before allowing them to board the train. Jun Yeong and Jin-guk are dressed as Japanese soldiers and stand outside one of the train’s carriages. As Ae-shin approaches them, Jun-Yeong says that they will leave at noon. Ae-shin says that she may not be able to step on this land again. She gets onto the train.
Elsewhere,Su-mi is disguised as a boy and thanks Gwan-su. He puts a gat on her head to complete the disguise and says, “God bless you”.
Officer Jung gets information that newspaper type for printing has been imported from Japan and the recipient is Kim Hui Seung. He immediately calls the resident-general.
Meanwhile, Hui Seung is in the darkroom removing all the photographs. He sees the pictures from the military disbandment, Su-mi and Hina along with the staff at The Glory hotel, Ae-shin’s picture in disguise. He says, “My life was meaningless before I met you all. It was an honour to know every one of you.”
Hui Seung puts all the pictures and newspapers in a box and wrap’s Ae-shin’s picture (in disguise) separately. He places the box in a pit that he has dug inside the store and tensely starts to shovel mud over it. He is startled when his assistant walks in. He passes the camera on to his assistant and says that he will be rooting for her. She gives him a puzzled look when he asks her not to come back for a while as she might be in danger too. she takes the shovel from him and asks him to dust the mud off his clothes. She says she will keep it safe and asks him to come and get it from her later. He says he will get the shovel from her loudly after she leaves.
Hui Seung covers the pit and hides all the dyes and equipment. He leaves his nameplate on the desk. He is about to walk towards the door when Jung comes in and orders his arrest. Hui Seung stands with his hands in the air and smiles.
In the woods, one of the platoons gets surrounded by the Japanese. Eun san’s platoon watches from far. The men tell him that Ae-shin’s platoon is in danger. Eun san says that they have to place their trust in Ae-shin and Eugene. He says they have to save their comrades now and move forward.
The Japanese captain orders his men to continuously shoot the hostages until he tells them to stop. He orders them to fire and instantly drops dead. Eun-san’s men start firing at the Japanese soldiers. They shoot down all the soldiers. One of them tries to ride away on a horse but Eun san shoots him down too.
Eugene reaches the train station. Su-mi and Gwan su are waiting for him. As he walks in, a rider on horseback informs the Japanese soldiers that the mobs are in the train. The man asks them to delay the train’s departure and orders a search of the passengers. Eugene tells Su-mi to go to Stella at the school, as the train will be dangerous. He gives his bag to Su-mi and asks her to hold on to it for him. Eugene asks Gwan-su to visit Su-mi from time to time. Both Gwan-su and Su-mi feel that something is wrong.
Eugene pulls out Gwan Su’s hand and traces Gwan Su’s name in Korean. Gwan-su breaks down into tears as Eugene thanks him for everything. He asks Gwan-su to take care. Gwan –su hugs Eugene and then leaves with Su-mi.
Eugene checks his gun as he looks at the soldiers checking all the people entering the station.
Inside the train, Ae-shin gets the information that Japanese soldiers delayed the departure as they are on to them. She understands that more men will be coming for reinforcements. She says that the train must depart before the reinforcements arrive. Jun Yeong says that two more people have to board the train. Ae-shin realises it is Su-Mi and Eugene. Ae-shin gets up and walks away saying that the train must leave this instant.
Outside, Eugene spots a Japanese man and he strikes a conversation with the man. He uses Takashi’s name to start a conversation as Hui Seung had said Takashi hailed from an influential family. A Japanese soldier addresses him as Baron Kuroda and asks him not to take the train because they suspect mobs might be there. Baron is persistent and says that he will board the train. Baron starts talking to Eugene who manages to enter the station along with him. He asks Eugene why he was boarding the train. Eugene says that the woman whom he loves is walking in that direction.
Ae-shin and one of her men hold the train driver at gunpoint and ask him to start the train. She tells him not stop at any cost. She asks him to close the door behind her as the train starts.
Eugene watches the train pull out of the station as he enters. He takes advantage of the commotion and starts to run grabbing Baron’s hand. He helps Baron onto the moving train and gets in after him.
Once inside, Baron thanks Eugene for helping him board the train and asks Eugene to have a drink with him. Eugene says that his seat is in the economy class and leaves.
Eugene enters the other carriage and sees Jun Yeong there. Eugene tells him to greet him later and says that Jun Yeong is to reach their destination at all costs. He calls Jun Yeong a lion and asks him to protect his comrades. He says that he is proud of Jun Yeong and says that he missed him. Jun Yeong starts crying as Eugene walks away.
The comrades are dressed in Japanese clothing but one of the children points out to a soldier (searching for Ae shin with her sketch) calling him Japanese. This draws suspicion but the nurse somehow manages to avert it. The soldier goes away eyeing her suspiciously.
Ae-shin is wearing her ring on her finger. She is tensed as she sits tensely clutching the pistol in her hand which is hidden in her bag. Someone comes up and sits next to her. She is surprised to see it is Eugene. He asks her if she is surprised to see that he caught her trying to leave him or she is surprised because she is pleased seeing him. He says that she did excellently. She says that she is the wife of an excellent American and Eugene smiles. Eugene checks his gun and has just one bullet. He says that he has to go. Ae-shin is concerned as she asks where he is going. He says that his seat is in the premium class and gets up to go. Ae-shin stops him and asks what he will do since he has only one bullet. Eugene says, “As usual, I just need to use it wisely.” He sees her concerned expression and holds her hand. He then walks away without a second glance at her.
Meanwhile, Eun san and his men manage to kill all the soldiers. They go to gather the weapons and Eun san orders them to take turns in watching the wounded. They hear the sound of heavy footsteps. Then they see that they are surrounded by the Japanese soldiers from all the sides.
Eun-san says that he isn’t sure if they can win but he says that they can’t turn back now. He says that they will show them that though they were afraid they were here and fought till the end. They agree and say that the only die once and they can’t die twice. They vow to take half of the Japanese soldiers with them to the afterlife. Eun san commands them and they run towards the army shouting out their war cry. The Korean flag with their handprints flies high as one of them carries it as they go forward.
In the train, Eugene heads over to the premium class and finds Baron drinking. He asks Eugene to join him. Eugene says he doesn’t have the time, as he must save the woman he loves. Baron asks if the woman is on the train and Eugene says that unfortunately, she is. Eugene asks Baron as to who had murdered Takashi. The man says that it must be one of the Joseon mobs. Eugene says that he is wrong and points the gun at Baron. He says that it was an American who fled from Joseon.
Hui Seung is tied to a chair in a cell and is bleeding heavily as the Japanese officer thrashes him repeatedly with a log. The officer talks about the article and Hui Seung being engaged to Ae-shin. He asks for the photos and the list of names of the Righteous Army. He hits Hui Seung hard across the face as Hui Seung says that those are beautiful names. Hui Seung says, “I am a man who loves beautiful yet useless things, the moon, the stars, the flowers, lakes and things like that. If I were to become one of them for those reasons, then it would be an honour. The man asks Hui Seung to speak in Japanese and Hui Seung spits blood on him.
The officer takes the log again and strikes it over Hui Seung’s head. Hui Seung coughs out blood and falls from the chair onto the floor. He smiles lightly and twitches before he dies. The officer kicks him but gets no response.
In the train, the guards come into Ae-shin’s compartment. They are ordered to search thoroughly. They cross Ae-shin and walk away. They notice that Jun Yeong is not from their platoon and demand to know which platoon he is from. The man nudges him when he doesn’t reply. Ae-shin gets up and says that she is right here and she removes her hat. Ae-shin and Jun Yeong start firing at the soldiers.
Hearing the gunshots, the rest of Ae-shin’s comrades throw their pieces of baggage at the soldiers and keep them from going to Ae-shin’s carriage.
More soldiers pour into the compartment and Jun Yeong and Ae-shin take cover behind the train seats. The soldiers advance towards them steadily and Ae-shin is extremely worried. They suddenly hear a loud voice ordering them to stop in Japanese.
Ae-shin turns to see Eugene behind her, holding Baron as a hostage. He holds the gun against Baron’s temple and the Japanese soldiers freeze. Baron asks them to retreat.
As Eugene walks forward, Ae-shin gets up to join him. She points her gun at the soldiers and walks behind Eugene. They move forward as the soldiers continue to walk backwards. As they cross over to the other carriage, Ae-shin tells him that her gun is empty and asks him what he is going to do.
Eugene says that he is hoping to delay the fall of Joseon. He asks her to hang in there as there is a tunnel coming up. She asks what is a tunnel and he says it is like an underpass. He then says, “Which is why I must say… Don’t cry.” Ae-shin doesn’t understand.
Eugene says, “This is my history and my love story. That is why I must go. I wish for your victory.”
The train pulls closer towards the tunnel.
Eugene’s eyes well up and he turns to Ae-shin saying, “You should take a step forward, I will take a step back.” he smiles sadly at Ae-shin who has a serious expression on her face. Eugene yells “Move forward!” and advances to the next carriage along with the Japanese soldiers.
The train pulls into the tunnel and the train plunges into darkness.
Realisation dawns on Ae-shin as she runs forward but the carriage door closes. Eugene stands on the other carriage uses his last bullet to shoot the connector between the carriages. Ae-shin runs to the end of her carriage opening the door and cries helplessly as she is not able to crossover to his carriage. Eugene watches her from his carriage which is slowing down and blocks the entry so that the Japanese soldiers can’t get to her. Ae-shin cries out as a shower of bullets hit Eugene and he falls to his knees. Ae-shin yells, “Choi Yu-Jin!” as her carriage pulls away leaving Eugene’s carriage behind in the dark tunnel. She cries as she sees the sparks from the guns and sounds of the gunshots as they continue to shoot him.
Eugene’s carriage slowly comes out of the tunnel. Eugene looks up at the sky. We see a montage of the 9-year old Eugene looking up at the blackbird in the sky. At present, Eugene looks up at the sky and falls out of the carriage.
Ae-shin’s hand clutches the train’s railing and Eugene’s hand lays on the train track. Both of them are wearing the ring.
At his office, Ito Hirobumi orders them to wrap it up as mobs attack. He says that their names should be buried. He asks Hasegawa to make sure that the foreign press doesn’t print any of their names. He says they must not be remembered in history.
At the palace, Gwan su cries as he lists out the names of the members who were killed, to the former King Gojong. Tears streak down Gojong’s face as he hears the long list of names.
At the school, Su-mi opens Eugene’s bag and sees the tasselled ornament in it. She finds a framed photo of Ae-shin and Eugene in the bag too and she starts to cry.
Gwan Su’s voice reads the content of his letter, “Dear Kyle Moore. First of all, I deeply regret to inform you of Eugene Choi’s death. He who was born in Joseon and died as an American remained as a foreigner to the last. He wished to bury the final chapter of his life here in Joseon, the country that never embraced him. Hence, I have a favour to ask of you. Would you be able to put in a formal request to the Korean and Japanese Governments, so that he can be buried in the foreigner’s cemetery in Hanseong. Wishing you all the best. From the Joseon man, Im Gwan-su.”
Kyle’s eyes well up as he reads the letter.
Choon-sik and II-sik return to their shop to find it closed. They are saddened as they find Hui Seung’s dusty nameplate on the ground but no trace of him. They find a box with the pocket watch in it. They also find a note along with it which reads, “It is shameless of me to write another letter like this. I’d like to pay off my overdue rent with this watch.”
Just then, two men walk into the shop asking if they are back in business. They have the chest of drawers from the apothecary and Dong mae’s sword. They say they found the sword on the street.
Choon-sik and II-sik place the pocketwatch, Eun san’s pot and the sword along with the old shoes of a child (they have a habit of retaining the items from freedom fighters as keepsakes.)
II-sik goes over to the drawers and checks them. He finds the Russian nesting doll (Eugene’s) in it. Choon-sik says people will like it and they put it on the other side.
(In a flashback)Eugene’s voiceover narrates as he writes a letter, “By the time this letter reaches you, I probably won’t be in Joseon anymore. Tomorrow we are going to Japan together. I think that will be how we part ways.” He opens the nesting doll and places the letter inside it.
His voiceover continues as he stands with the nesting doll at the chameleon plant drawer, “No matter where you are headed, I wanted to stand right in front of you. But I did not know that parting ways with you was what was ahead of me.”
Eugene walks up to the Tokyo photo studio in Japan. He comes out holding the photograph of him and Ae-shin. He smiles seeing it and sits down on the staircase of the studio. The voiceover continues, “Every step I took with you meant everything to me. Every moment I spent with you was like a picnic to me.”Eugene runs his hand over Ae-shin’s image and starts crying. The voiceover continues, “in English, it is spelt as ‘Picnic’. it starts with a ‘P’.”
Eugene starts to smile as he remembers eating fish with Ae-shin after they had gone fishing together. Ae-shin relishes the fish as Eugene boasts that he has done a lot of sailing. He asks her if she is aware that he has caught all the fish. Ae-shin apologises for being this clueless as she knows only how to paint (she had said this when she had visited the legation the very first time). He says that she didn’t catch any fish and all that she did today was hold his hand. Ae-shin asks what word is for “fish” in English. Eugene asks her not to change the subject. She looks away and continues to eat the fish. Eugene starts laughing and says that the English word is “Fish”. She repeats,”Pish” and says that it starts with the letter ‘P’. Eugene says that it starts with the letter ‘F’.
Ae-shin says that she picks things up pretty quickly. Ae-shin finishes eating and asks to leave as they shouldn’t stay long at others house. She again emphasises the pronunciation of a word and both of them start laughing.
Manchuria, Two Years Later
Eugene’s voiceover says, “Are you still protecting Joseon?”
Eugene’s voiceover continues, “I hope you are. Go Ae-shin was a very passionate woman and Go Ae-shin was the woman I deeply loved. Well then, Goodbye”
The Korean Flag with the handprints flies over the hilltop as the members of the Righteous army stand beneath it. Ae-shin stands before them as their mentor.
Ae-shin trains the recruits just like how Seung gu trained her. Su-mi stands in the front and responds the same way Ae-shin had. She sends the recruits for a run down the mountain and back. They all start running.
As she stands watching them, Ae-shin’s voiceover says, “Those were glorious days. Each one of us was like a flame and all of us bloomed, burnt, and wilted vehemently and once again we wish to ignite the embers left by our comrades. My English still hasn’t improved much, so I had to keep my goodbye short. Goodbye, my comrades. When our country regains independence, See you again.”
Ae-shin stands near the flag that is full of bullet holes (from Eun san’s encounter with the Japanese soldiers) but still flies high.
The Year of 1919
Gyeongseong Foreigner Cemetery
A group of young men in a uniform stand near Eugene’s grave. The headstone reads,“Eugene Choi 1863-1907. “The greatest and noble one. Still on a picnic here in Joseon.”
We see a flashback (when Eugene helped Do-mi save Su-mi from the Japanese soldiers) where Eugene tells Do Mi, “This is your fight. I am only helping. Got that? Okay?” A crying Do-mi says, “Yes sir”. Eugene says, “Let’s go”.
At present, the young man (Kim Min Jae) in the front (adult Do mi) says,“Yes we will keep moving forward. This is our fight sir.” They salute Eugene’s grave and then walk away.
We see a shot of Eugene’s grave and a bird flies over the grave.
In our independent country
See You again.”
Image Courtesy- TVN
This was indeed a tragic ending for all the leads.
The scene with the human chain revisits the fact that people of Joseon are strong-spirited even years after the battle of Ganghwa. It goes to prove how the country managed to retain sovereignty for this long. Haman’s last words to Ae-shin was heart-wrenching as she was a mother-figure to Ae-shin.
It was a delight to see the 3 male leads back at the bar finally raising their glasses together. It is unfortunate that they didn’t get to spend more time with each other when the friendship finally blossomed between the 3.
Dong mae died like a true warrior. He fought till his last breath and was satisfied during his death as he managed to leave a mark in Ae-shin’s life. The scene where his apparition looks at his dead form and then disappears was well made.
Hui Seung’s character was one that evolved the most out of all the characters. He ended up recording history and managed to keep it from falling into the hands of the Japanese. His importance wasn’t recognised much by the people back then but it definitely would have been recognised later on. He single-handedly shook up the Japanese with his words.
Eugene sure is Mr Sunshine, true to the title. His love was true and selfless as he always walked in the same direction as his ladylove. It seems like it was Joseon’s good fortune that Eugene ended up loving a patriotic Joseon woman, for he was the one who delayed Joseon’s fall by many days if not years. His character leaves a lasting impact and stands out even after the series has ended.The words on Eugene’s headstone were thoughtful and suited his sentiment. The last scene also emphasises that he was only a helper and never considered himself a patriot.
Ae-shin ended up paying a heavy price for choosing the path of being a patriot. Her ending shows the extent of loss a person faces when they choose their country over their loved ones. In a very small span of time, she lost everyone who cared for her and protected her all along. I wonder how much impact Dong mae’s words (spoilt noble fool) had on her life and if it was also a factor which made her want to prove herself to her country.
It was interesting how Eugene meets another figure from history- Frederick Arthur Mckenzie. The interview and scene with them taking a photograph (which exists in history) were well made. The brutality of the Japanese soldiers never fails to make an impact, especially in the scenes which shows Eun san, Hui Seung and Eugene’s death.
It would have been a consolation if we would have known some more things like, who found Hui Seung’s box that he had buried, if Ae-shin ever found out that Eugene was in prison for those 3 years, whose hands the nesting doll fell into and if Eugene’s letter was read by anyone, the situation in Joseon in 1919.
The Series promised us a story about the unsung heroes during Joseon’s struggle for freedom. It was interesting that the unsung heroes who stood out were the loved ones (Eugene, Dong-mae, Haman, Mr Haengrang etc) of the freedom fighters. They deserve more praise as its not their cause to begin with and they joined the cause because the person whom they care for feels strongly for it.
It was saddening that the story of all the leads ended more tragically than that of their predecessors. With respect to history and the timeline in which the series has been set, a sad ending was expected; but the finale did not leave a lasting impression as compared to its previous episodes. The series finale delivered only a sad ending for the characters and nothing more.
The series got off to a slow start but it started picking up pace after the third week. This drama is deep-set and emotive. The show was initially criticised for discrepancies with respect to actual history. This made me curious and I read up on the country’s history during the timeline too.
The drama is set in the timeline when Joseon slowly fell into Japan’s control. The makers have done a great job in showcasing how hard the patriots and citizens struggled to stop the inevitable. The brutality of the Japanese and the spirit of Joseon is depicted well. The predominance of the caste system and its influence had been portrayed strikingly.
Mr Sunshine shows the life and love story of Eugene Choi untill his death. Eugene Choi’s characterisation is extremely impressive. He is truly ‘the great and noble one’ as addressed by the other characters. His memory shines brightly and is everlasting like the sun.
The show showcases the life of people from various backgrounds in Joseon during the Japanese invasion, how their lives are impacted by it and their feelings towards their motherland. Since the show takes some time to develop, we get used to Joseon’s atmosphere along with its locals and it creates an impact when we see Joseon change during the invasion. The supporting characters grow on us as we continue to watch the series.
The plot is complex with a series of subplots. The romance plot also started suffering after a point of time as there was a constant wavering and sometimes selfishness in the character-sketch of the female lead. The series also kept seeing new characters that kept cropping up even when it came into the final week. For a series that showed a lot of promise in the beginning, the finale could have been better. Despite that,
What makes Mr Sunshine worth watching are-
- Uniqueness of the Romance
- Character sketches
- Exceptional performance by the actors
- The songs and themes
The romance in Mr Sunshine is unique and interesting with the language barrier acting as a bridge that contributes to the bond in relationship between the leads Go Ae-shin and Eugene Choi. It was refreshing to see a deep relationship with almost no physical intimacy between the lead pair, which is rare. The ironic part is that despite there being two other leads, Ae-shin’s patriotism towards her motherland seems to be the hindrance to their relationship. Eugene always seems to be struggling to make her love him more than Joseon.
The bromance in this series is the best I’ve seen so far. Despite the 3 leads liking the same woman, the scenes with the three main leads are extremely good. The rivalry was shown in a light-hearted and humorous way.
The cinematography is mindblowing as it displays all the four seasons and the sets are picturesque.
The Series promised us a story about the unsung heroes during Joseon’s struggle for freedom. It was interesting that the unsung heroes who stood out were the loved ones (Eugene, Dong-mae, Haman, Mr Haengrang etc) of the freedom fighters. They deserve more praise as its not their cause to begin with and they joined the cause because the person whom they care for feels strongly for it.
Lee Byung Hun has given an exceptional performance in his role as the majestic Eugene Choi. His portrayal of the extremely intelligent American soldier who was born in Joseon does full justice to the role of Mr Sunshine. Eugene Choi is an unwavering and righteous personality who loves selflessly and his character stands out among the rest. He will be remembered as a foreigner who helped Joseon putting his life on the line to keep his lady love safe.
Kim Tae Ri has portrayed the female lead Go Ae-shin excellently. She deserves praise as the character involves various kinds of emotions to be brought on screen and she has delivered it perfectly.
Yeo Yeon Suk’s performance as the brooding and daring swordsman Gu-Dong mae is laudable.
Kim Min Jung has done a great job in portraying the calm, composed but fiery Hina Kudo who creates an impact with her performance.
Byun Yo-han has perfectly portrayed the role of Kim Hui Seung, a charming man who becomes an important addition to the freedom movement.
The supporting cast’s work is praiseworthy as they constitute the spirit of Joseon.
Patriotism is an emotion highly felt in the countries that celebrate an independence day. Now and then we need a series to show us how tough it was to fight off invasion and gain the freedom that we take for granted. Mr Sunshine did that by delivering this piece of work in the form of a tragedy.
-By Soul Sword-
Stay with us as we recap MBC’s Terius Behind Me (Mystery, Romantic Comedy) which airs Wednesays & Thursdays.