In this episode, we recap and analyze Episodes 1 and 2 of Mr. Sunshine, the hit K Drama on Netflix starring Lee Byung-hun as Eugene Choi, Kim Tae-ri as Go Ae-shin, Yoo Yeon-Seok as Goo Dong-mae, Kim Min-jung as Kudo Hina, and Byun Yo-han as Kim Hee-sung.
We learn the story of Eugene Choi, a slave from Joseon who stows away to the United States. Even though he is no longer a slave, he has a hard life in New York, getting beat up by bullies and having his money taken away. He decides to join the US military, and becomes a Captain in the US Marines. After the Spanish-American War, he is sent to Joseon with Major Kyle Moore, to work at the US legation and deal with a former US diplomat who is selling secrets to the Japanese.
We spend time talking about the historical context for Mr. Sunshine, including the story of how Korea has struggled for independence as a small country caught between multiple superpowers and the establishment of the Korean Empire. We also talk about how deeply hierarchical Korean society is at the time.
The first two episodes introduce us to so many characters, so we spend time introducing the primary and secondary characters. We spend time talking about Yu-jin’s journey to becoming an American and what he left behind in Joseon.
We explore the K Drama elements that we saw in the first two episodes. We also decide not to discuss our favorite outfits since the costumes are not about fashion. We will, however, talk about the dresses and outfits: what they were, what they signify, how they change over time.