Another Thursday and thankfully with it comes a return to form for Descendants of the Sun. I was wondering how the disaster aspect would unfold and it’s a major coup for the production for how visually impressive the events were staged and edited. The cheesy is on the story line in certain ways but the filming quality remains top notch for a K-drama. It also helps that this episode made me love Shi Jin and Mo Yeon’s thought process and personality again. She was too wishy-washy in the last episode but won me over with what she said to Shi Jin’s question about confession or apology. The chemistry between them may not be scalding hot but the slow simmer is buoyed by genuine thoughtful communication and a lack of playing mind games. This episode was winner from beginning to end, not the least of which was bringing all four leads together again on earthquake stricken Urk.
Episode 6 recap:
Shi Jin directly asks Mo Yeon what she wants from him – regarding the unapproved kiss, does she want him to apologize or confess his feelings? Mo Yeon stares at him before admitting that Shi Jin is very attractive but also very dangerous, and the danger is what she doesn’t like. But his gaze is electrifying and she can’t help but be attracted. She was hoping for more time to work through her worries and figure out her concerns so that she could consider a way to date such an attractive but dangerous man. But Shi Jin is leaving so abruptly yet again and she doesn’t even have a reason to be unreasonable and ask him to say. So all that leaves her is frustrated and for that she dislikes Shi Jin right now. Damn, love her answer here.
Mo Yeon tells Shi Jin to apologize and she will accept it. Shi Jin pauses before apologizing to Mo Yeon and asking her to be forever safe and healthy. He salutes her and strides off like the manly man he is. Love his eternal coolness.
Both return to their rooms for their usual mild brooding, but I get the sense that each such conversation increases their connection with each other through understanding. Mo Yeon lights a candle and Shi Jin stares at his army dog tag.
Mo Yeon walks outside the next morning to see the soldiers jogging by shirtless but she doesn’t have eyes for them as she is looking for Shi Jin. Ki Bum walks by and when asked where Shi Jin is explains the Captain left last night. Mo Yeon’s disappointment is palpable and she mutters that he’s so cold. He’s just trying not to confuse you anymore, Mo Yeon. Both of you are in the right.
Shi Jin returns to Korea and meets up with his retiring general father. Shi Jin tells his dad to retire without worry and he will become a general one day to take a picture with his dad.
They head into a photo studio to take an official picture and Shi Jin carries the photo of his deceased mom.
Dae Young continues his intense military training of the potential Alpha Team new recruits. Each recruit who fails to go down the zip line takes a turn carrying Dae Young on their shoulder as endurance training.
Shi Jin interrupts the training by smoothly zip lining into the training facility and demonstrating for the recruits the right way to descend a building on rope.
Dae Young and Shi Jin head out for drinks to celebrate his return. A bunch of soldiers arrive and Dae Young wants to conceal himself since he once inflicted demon training on them. He is recognized and the soldiers want to take him up on his offer to compete outside of training.
Shi Jin wants to count to three to bolt but Dae Young bolts at the count of one. They jump off the second floor of the restaurant and land on the first floor with even more soldiers. A fight breaks out just like that but Shi Jin and Dae Young are too fast and strong to be beat. They manage to run out of the restaurant and evade the pursuing soldiers through the city streets before hiding in the bushes.
Shi Jin wonders if he needs to have a showdown with Dae Young as well now, since when Shi Jin was in military academy Dae Young as the instructor also tormented him. Dae Young welcomes it but Shi Jin admits that he only has fond memories from those days.
Dae Young asks about the red wine he left behind and hears that Shi Jin sampled a taste with Dr. Kang. When asked if Shi Jin has made any progress, he admits it’s the same and even worse is the feeling that he’s been dumped each time he’s on leave. He misses her a bit but he’ll get over it. Dae Young believes that its endurance training to sharpen the stick into a needle but Shi Jin quips that Myung Joo ought to have trained Dae Young well. Dae Young has been sharpened into a needle but it’s pricking him with the pain. Shi Jin sighs how they are both failures. Dae Young heads off as this neighborhood is close to where he lives. That pisses off Shi Jin since Dae Young ran this direction on purpose to save on car money, lol.
Dae Young heads off and stops when he sees an incoming call from Myung Joo. He answers it for a change which is super surprising to Myung Joo. She worriedly asks why he took her call and if anything happened?
Dae Young doesn’t talk so Myung Joo tells him to just listen – she’s been wearing her combat fatigues so hasn’t been stung by mosquitoes, she’s healthy in Urk but misses Dae Young a lot, Shi Jin laughed at her for chasing Dae Young all the way to Urk without any pride. She doesn’t need pride because of how much Dae Young loves her.
Flashback to more cuteness on a date with Dae Young and Myung Joo after they are officially dating, including coffee shop kisses and hugs outside the home.
Mo Yeon reads text from her best doctor friend Ji Soo back at the hospital telling her to come back soon and she has red wine waiting. She wonders how it’s going with Mo Yeon and her fated guy halfway around the world? Mo Yeon texts back that she shouldn’t have accepted his apology and should have run in for a hug and confession. It was she who pushed him away and missed yet another chance, he likely will ignore her from now on.
We see Shi Jin in Seoul and he gets on a bus with Mo Yeon’s face on a hospital advertisement along the side. Mo Yeon erases that text to Ji Soo and doesn’t send it.
Shi Jin plays pool and is majorly sucking when Dae Young walks in wearing the exact same outfit as Shi Jin. A bromance couples outfit lol! Shi Jin stares before trying to take pictures of Dae Young, which he does and emails to Myung Joo who stares with googly eyes.
Mo Yeon and Chi Hoon take care of the kids and receives a picture of thanks from the little boy with lead poisoning. It’s a picture of Mo Yeon with Shi Jin and she flashes back to Shi Jin at the village teaching the kids to stay away from lead based items. Shi Jin’s translations of Mo Yeon’s doctorly advice is to tell them that they will get shot if they touch or eat any of the dangerous items.
Shi Jin goes camping and calls Dae Young all bored to come out. He claims to be scared by himself at night, lol. Dae Young promptly hangs up on him. Shi Jin takes out the rock from the island and stares at it while thinking of what Mo Yeon said to him, about not doing surgery anymore and looking for a way to go back as soon as she can. She gives him the rock because she thinks he will have a chance to come back to this island before she can. She wants him to show her that the legend is true.
Mo Yeon stands on a cliff that overlooks that island and stares down looking all sad and mopey. Well, at least she accepts her role in losing another chance with Shi Jin.
Daniel pulls up in the rescued truck and Mo Yeon thinks he should be a mechanic more than a doctor. She hands him money for the truck repair but Daniel hands her a brochure for a charity organization and suggests she donate monthly instead. Mo Yeon says her goodbyes to Daniel and asks he bid farewell to Ye Hwa for her.
Ye Hwa is on the mountainside and sees a butterfly which directs her attention to swarms of birds flying away frantically. Uh oh.
Myung Joo finds Mo Yeon in the medical facility and get their usual bickering out of the way first before asking directly if Mo Yeon likes Shi Jin? Mo Yeon just stares back so Myung Joo sees the answer as very obvious. Myung Joo takes a call from Shi Jin right then and asks what she should call Dr. Kang Mo Yeon since their future relationship is unclear. She asks Shi Jin if Mo Yeon likes him and Mo Yeon tries to stop Myung Joo from saying more.
Shi Jin chides Myung Joo for not using rank with him but admits he’s calling as a neighborhood oppa right now. He’s sitting in a coffee shop with Dae Young and asks why Myung Joo said what she said earlier. Myung Joo admits she wanted to make things awkward for Shi Jin since she’s in a mental battle with Mo Yeon. Shi Jin tells Myung Joo to stop making things difficult for civilians. Shi Jin asks if Mo Yeon is angry right now and Myung Joo says she is angry but still very pretty. Shi Jin ends the call.
Mo Yeon is called out to take a group picture with the entire team since they are leaving soon. Mo Yeon hands the rest of the supplies check work to Myung Joo so they can donate the remainder to the UN since Myung Joo interrupted her. The medical team gather to take a picture and Mo Yeon looks broody to the max. The soldiers thank the team for their work and explain that some of the team will be taken via helicopter to the airport which will take only 30 minutes. Mo Yeon remains in a daze this entire time. Sargeant Choi tells them to do rock paper scissors for it.
Mo Yeon and some of her staffers take the helicopter to the airport and it flies over the island with the battleship. The little boy from before is playing in an old tank when suddenly a swarm of butterflies zoom towards him.
The Manager who is supplying illegal diamonds to Angus takes out a bag full to check before hiding it away in the floorboards of the power plant construction office. One of the construction guys Kang is sleeping in the room and peeks out from under the blanket. We see the glass of water on the table shaking a bit.
The construction continues on the power plant. The Team Leader tells Kang to put on a safety helmet and once he does everything starts to shake and fall as the ground violently rumbles.
A major earthquake hits Urk and all the soldiers are scrambling in their quarters. A fridge falls on Ki Bum who is in the kitchen. All the medical equipment around Myung Joo falls off the shelves. She runs out and tells the rest of the medical team to head outside. It’s a huge earthquake as windows shatter and the Urk citizens in town are running for cover.
The equipment in the construction site fall everywhere and sink holes appear as people fall in. The Team Leader is buried under rubble as the entire construction site collapses.
Birds are flying wild in the sky and the group in the helicopter look downward to see the carnage on the ground. A major bridge collapses in mountain passes.
Shi Jin is driving and hears on a radio about a major 6.7 earthquake in Urk with massive casualties. He immediately calls into base and asks to be connected with someone who knows what is happening in Urk.
The medical staff back in Seoul at Hae Sung hospital watch in horror on the news about the earthquake in Urk. Chi Hoon’s pregnant wife cries in worry. The Managing Director callously walks to a meeting to discuss this situation.
General Yoon is sending a military team to Urk immediately, and wants Shi Jin and Dae Young on it.
Sargent Choi is ordering a stubborn Mo Yeon to get on the plane with the rest of the helicopter team as they have been ordered to leave Urk first. We see people rushing to board the plane to leave Urk. Mo Yeon and Dr. Song refuse to leave and want to be taken back to the base to get the rest of the team. Plus they are doctors and this situation needs their help. Sargent Choi has no choice but to do as she’s insists.
The Blue House convenes a meeting where the Managing Director insists on his medical team be rescued. General Yoon assures him that his best team of men have been dispatched there. We see Shi Jin and Dae Young in full combat gear on a military transport.
Mo Yeon’s helicopter team returns to the base and finds everyone fine in the medical facility. Whew. Min Ji is very scared and rattled but Mo Yeon keeps the calm. KI Bum has been treated for a dislocated shoulder by Myung Joo. She wonders why they are back and hear that the airport is not badly damaged and they can leave but they couldn’t contact the rest of the team so didn’t want to leave like that.
Myung Joo get a radio call that the construction site has collapsed with casualties. The army drives the soldiers and medical team over to the power plant site and find injured workers being taken to triage. The soldiers immediately get to work digging for survivors in the wreckage as the medical team take in the devastation in shock.
Mo Yeon orders everyone to put on their vests so they are easily identified as medical personnel. They have to tag the degree of injury with different colors so the injured are able to be sorted by type of attention needed. Everyone takes off to look for survivors. Mo Yeon pauses to take off her sandals and break the heels off.
Additional explosions continue to rock the site since it’s a power plant construction. Mo Yeon gets to work on triage as does the rest of her team in a hastily set up tent. The Manager arrives and announces that he is the person in charge now and wants to know if the inside has been searched yet. A soldier asks about the Team Leader Go and but he hasn’t been seen. The Manager says there are more than thirty workers here this afternoon but wants the team to search the office first because he has very important things in there. The soldier ignores him and runs off to search for more people.
Team Leader Go awakens and finds himself under rubble. He hears another worker asking for help and the worker is impaled by a protruding beam. The Team Leader tries to assure him to stay put as he starts to bang a rock to make noise and call out for help.
Myung Joo takes a patient from Mo Yeon and tells her to go help Chi Hoon who is trying to resuscitate an injured man. Mo Yeon checks and changes his tag from yellow to black as he cannot be saved. She tells Chi Hoon to stop trying to revive him and pronounces time of death. Chi Hoon is freaking out until Dr. Song slaps him across the face and tells him to buck up.
Chi Hoon is upset that he tagged the man as yellow for not needing immediately medical attention. Dr. Song orders him to do his job and says that as the treating doctor he is the one who needs to declare someone dead. Chi Hoon sobs while Mo Yeon joins in trying to calm him down. Chi Hoon stops crying and pronounces time of death and closes the man’s eyes.
Ji Soo keeps trying to call Mo Yeon and leaves a message for her to call back.
The soldiers and medical team work through the night cutting through beams to find more survivors and treating the injured. Mo Yeon voiceovers about why she became a doctor, to save lives no matter the situation or the ethnicity of the injured. She will never do anything to betray her oath. Mo Yeon helps an injured man who sees her sandaled feet all cut up and offers her a pair of scuffed up boots.
Injured Ki Bum is also on sit to help in whatever way he can and that’s by updating the board with new numbers of deceased. Everyone looks up as the sound of a helicopter approaches. It hovers overhead as men rappel down. Of course we need a slo mo scene of the soldiers led by Shi Jin and Dae Young arrive on site to provide additional support. All the soldiers rush over to salute Shi Jin who locks eyes with Mo Yeon staring at him from inside the medical tent.
Mo Yeon is called away by a man to help another injured person and Shi Jin gets a salute from his squad. Shi Jin asks if anyone is inured and is told none. Shi Jin takes over the rescue operation at the power plant and orders that no one is to get hurt. If any soldier is injured then the medical team will need to treat them and that will take away from treating others.
Myung Joo runs over when she sees Dae Young and he’s relieved to see that she’s safe and sound. He walks away to help others and Myung Joo orders him not to get hurt and to protect himself. Dae Young turns back to salute her since she just gave him an order and she salutes him back.
Mo Yeon is walking and stops to kneel down to tie her boot laces. Shi Jin kneels down in front of her and takes the laces and ties it. They stand up and face each other, and OMG you two can’t this wait for later. Thankfully it doesn’t last longer than two beats, whew.
Shi Jin is relieved that she’s not hurt and confesses that he regrets not seeing her before he left that morning. He can’t be beside her the entire time so he wants her to promise to be careful. She says the same to him and he smiles ruefully before walking off to do his job. Mo Yeon also walks away purposefully.
Thoughts of Mine:
Wow. This was certainly a nonstop episode from start to finish. Totally not complaining, especially after the minor stumble that was episode 5, it’s more than welcome that the character return to doing substantive things rather than talking with the occasional side rescue. Mo Yeon’s response to Shi Jin at the beginning of the episode was the highlight for me, even if she changed her mind later. It was messy but thoughtful, contradictory but direct in admitting to it. Finally I get her trepidation around Shi Jin, and it’s actually one that isn’t mined often in K-dramas, not wanting to pick a guy because he might disappear and then die on her in a mission. It’s way legitimate but the romantic in me thinks that she should throw caution to the wind and take her chance with him, but I dig her hesitation to do so. Shi Jin’s continued acquiescence to her position keeps him solidly high on the scale of awesome male leads, he manages to keep toeing the line between domineering and respectful. It’s a hard line to correctly draw, as evidenced by more than one Kim Eun Sook male lead who likely fall into stalker category in real life but for being played by uber handsome Korean male actors.
I thought the disaster bit would be schlocky but the production managed to pull off quite a feat of quality filmmaking. It’s not Hollywood movie level but at least doesn’t look like foam bits with fake fire. I loved the cool fleeing birds and butterflies imagery, and the onset of the earthquake was so fast and furious it got my heart pounding a bit. Nicely done. The 6.7 magnitude is portrayed realistically as lots of things shaking violently and falling over but not mass wholescale destruction like a 7.9 earthquake can cause. The power plant construction collapse also made sense since it was mid construction hence likely not fully secured or earthquake proof. The medical team’s wide range of reactions captured what ordinary first world city bred folks might feel when stuck in a third world during a major catastrophe. Chi Hoon was a bit over-the-top but ultimately he was racked with guilt not that a man died but that his incorrect diagnosis that he needed only minor treatment led to delayed medical attention. That his inexperience leads to deaths despite making such a concerted effort is an entire realistic emergency medicine situation. Mo Yeon and Dr. Song really displayed the qualities of experienced physicians and leaders, despite what she says about practicing medicine for profit and his tendency to act goofy.
This was the episode for Mo Yeon to shine and she did, but for the fact that Song Hye Kyo’s acting has stalled in the last two episodes for me. Not bad, don’t get me wrong, it’s still serviceable, but there is a noticeable lack of spark in her. I can’t deduce what the problem is, usually I can critique acting lacks with better precision on the source of the problem but here she’s going through the motions but not popping with any oomph. Thank god I’m back to really loving her complicated character otherwise I’d be more annoyed. It doesn’t hurt that she’s so pretty and actually pulls off the disaster zone doctor leadership nicely. I like Myung Joo but it’s more for Kim Ji Won’s charming performance than her actual personality. She’s certainly cute in her dogged love for Dae Young but as a doctor she hadn’t displayed much professionalism until this episode when she stepped up a bit. I hope she shelves the cutesy side like she did at the end of the episode and show us her army doctor skills, it’s time for all the characters to dig deep and show me what all this talk of being soldiers and doctors really mean when push comes to shove.
Shi Jin’s return trip to Korea was as random as it seemed when it was announced in the last episode, but served the purpose of making Mo Yeon immediately regret turning him down. I’m not certain I like how quickly she folded since her reasons for keeping her distance were valid, I much prefer that she grow to accept taking the chance with him after seeing how a soldier can also save lives just like a doctor in different ways. She can’t get to the trapped survivors and need the soldiers to help, in that way they are complementary and it needn’t be a zero sum game. She actually had an easy path with Shi Jin, he can stay a soldier but leave Alpha Team and just be a regular desk job type or an instructor. Certainly he wouldn’t go for that but it’s still an option, just like Myung Joo and Dae Young have a choice to contravene her father and get married then make him accept the union. I think this drama requires viewers to buy into the linear path but it’s not a hard sell since the alternate requires a stronger will power than any of the leads have right now. Myung Joo is still playing by daddy’s rules for the most part, Dae Young is a robot who jumps when any superior says so, Shi Jin is bound by duty and respect, and Mo Yeon has a reasoned decision but can’t stick with it all the time. Let’s hope a joint effort to save poor innocent souls gives everyone a renewed conviction to grab happiness when it’s right in front of them.
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