Bruce In ‘The Brothers Sun,’ Explained: Why Does Bruce Shoot Big Sun?


In The Brothers Sun, Bruce was a surprise in more ways than one. He was undoubtedly the pampered child of the house and was expected to be soft and ‘delicate’ by his parents. According to his mother, that was good because it signified that he was protected from mob life. As for his father, he did not mind that, but he said at one point that he knew Bruce would be a ‘disappointment.’ This is very typical of families, and for reference, it would be wise to remember May’s sister’s words about older children receiving respect and the younger ones receiving love. It is a given that parents tend to give more responsibility to the older child while the younger one gets to be more independent. There is no mistaking the side eye that Charles gave his mother when she allowed Bruce to take improv classes, whereas he had to subdue his love for baking his whole life.

Charles definitely did not agree with Bruce getting babied the way he did. At Bruce’s age, Charles was bearing the responsibilities of the Jade Dragons, whether he wanted to or not, and that meant that he did not think that Bruce was too ‘delicate’ for the job. But what Charles and Bruce did not yet realize is that in many households, especially Asian ones, parents do have a favorite child, and the reason is not personality or chronology of birth.

In the makeup of families, owing to the patriarchal nature, the father usually looks for the child who can be the man of the house, share his responsibilities, and carry the family name forward. The mother is interested in these things, but she also looks for the child that can be next to her as her support, someone she can mold in her image without the rigid patriarchy getting in the way. This is a hierarchy and set-up that we will find in so many households. It was the same for the Suns. Charles belonged to Big Sun, whereas Bruce was the apple of Eileen’s eyes, and their lifelong proximity had nothing to do with this preference. The thing about Bruce is that he was his parents’ child, and shrewdness was in his blood. He had never had any use for it so far, but it was present, waiting to be tapped into.

For the longest time, Bruce was torn between wanting to go back to his regular life in LA or standing by his family. Bruce has been implicated since the moment he and Charles blew up the nightclub and came back to a dead body getting hacked to pieces in his house. Bruce knew that his life had changed completely, yet he did not feel unsafe because his family was working hard to protect him at any cost.

Nothing gives you a sense of perspective other than a sibling who is treated differently from you. Bruce saw that his brother preferred baking and was a gentle soul who snuck out with him for ice cream. He had understood long ago that hacking people to death was not the life Charles wanted to live. Yet he did it for family—the same family that Bruce was a part of and that insisted that he stay out of things. Bruce had a sense of responsibility, and since he wanted to protect his mother and brother, he couldn’t just be a bystander.

Bruce’s greatest genius move was when he brought the old ladies to get his mother out of the gang’s captivity. That was when we realized that Bruce takes care of his mother and finds elegant solutions to complex problems. But that was just a spark of potential. Bruce still had a long way to go before he could start reading people the way the rest of his family did. When Bruce gave away the names of the gang leaders, he thought he was doing a good thing. Technically, Bruce wasn’t wrong. After all, the Jade Dragons were criminals. They may not be involved in human trafficking, but the reasons were profit margins and not ethics. This means that with illegal businesses where the profit margins were higher, Charles and Eileen had no problem committing crimes. Eileen wanted to legitimize the businesses, but we don’t know what that means. Does it imply that she wants to be on the good side of the law, or does it mean that she wants to give them a legitimate front, to remake their image as a lawful institution while they carry on their dealings as usual behind the scenes? This meant that Charles, Big Sun, and Eileen were criminals who were harming others. They were not the good guys, and giving them up was not a mistake in the grand scheme of things. But Bruce, the younger child, was not a complete rebel. He refused to see his family as the bad guys and wanted to make them an exception from others of their kind. He stood against everything they did, but he did not take a strong stand either. Eileen knew this and made proper use of it for her own advantage.

Towards the end of The Brothers Sun, Bruce picked a side. He decided to support his family’s wrongs while he enjoyed his life in LA. Bruce knew that the only person standing between him and the family he truly cared about was his father. Big Sun wanted Charles to be an unfeeling killing robot and for Eileen to suffer after seeing Bruce die in front of her. When someone dislikes you this much, it is wise to cut them out of your life, and that is what Bruce did. Just like Eileen, Bruce knew his strengths and weaknesses. He knew he wouldn’t be able to kill Big Sun. That is why he did the next best thing. He shot him non-fatally and let him do the rest. Big Sun was forced to call the hospital, and that landed him in police custody. As for the rest, Eileen took care of it. I suspect that Bruce knew that someone else would tie the loose ends. He just did not address it directly because he was not ready to let go of the bliss that came with willful ignorance.

In Season 2 of The Brothers Sun, Bruce may be forced to act upon his more ruthless side. He is going to have a crisis of faith, something he has avoided so far but cannot run away from because he has to decide who he is going to be.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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