Oh what an inadvertent confession can unearth. Episode 9 of Descendants of the Sun starts off with the lighthearted amusement of Mo Yeon’s broadcast confession to Shi Jin and rolls right into pushing their relationship forward. And boy does it move forward, in ways both confident and assuring. Finally the doctor and soldier stops their one step forward two steps back three steps sideways dance, which was entertaining don’t get me wrong, but they are more than ready to return to being the attracted at first sight adults from the first episode. I’m not suggesting more kissy kissy but that certainly wouldn’t hurt.
From a character trajectory perspective, Mo Yeon is changing in big leaps while it’s more incremental from Shi Jin. But he’s always been the worldlier one of the two from a life as a soldier deployed around the world, whereas she’s the sheltered flower in a hospital with dream but less direct experience. Her trip to Urk may have been forced but it’s pushed her to get back to the root of being a doctor as well as challenge her strong opinions, especially with respect to Shi Jin’s life as a soldier. The writing does a good job of bringing the Mo Yeon from episode 2 together with how far she’s changed her perspective by episode 9, and the guy who has played a big role is the biggest recipient.
Episode 9 recap:
Mo Yeon uses her phone’s playlist to broadcast music as a healing and soothing balm for everyone injured and rattled by the earthquake. The first song finishes and then Mo Yeon’s cliff side near death spurred confession to Shi Jin plays over the army base broadcast system in a truly mortifying fashion.
Mo Yeon freaks out and runs pell mell back to the broadcast room to turn it off but everyone hears her tearfully tell Shi Jin that if she knew she was going to die early then she should have confessed to him, confessed that her heart beat wildly to be kissed by a man as amazing as Shi Jin.
Mo Yeon rushes into the room, past a smiling Shi Jin, and grabs her phone before running right back out. She’s so cute! Daniel is impressed that listening to music brought out so much which Shi Jin concurs with, especially since he appears to be the male lead in this new development. Shi Jin jumps out the window to waylay Mo Yeon who is running out of the front door, freaking her out at how he got there so quickly.
Mo Yeon wonders why he’s here and Shi Jin answers that this situation is to his advantage right now. She accuses him of misusing his military training for such purposes and berates him for listening to her recording. Shi Jin explains that the recording reached him involuntarily and laughs at how rattled Mo Yeon is because she’s so cute.
Shi Jin stalks forward as Mo Yeon backs up, asking why she didn’t confess and waited until she might have died. And if she confessed then why did she change her mind once she didn’t die? Mo Yeon makes up the most hilarious excuses that it wasn’t her voice in the recording and this isn’t even her cellphone. Ahahaha, this girl went to med school? It just makes Shi Jin even more amused.
Mo Yeon finally gives up while Shi Jin thanks her for hearing her confessions. Mo Yeon tries to leave but Shi Jin grabs her hand and tells her not to dump him again as she’s dumped him too many times now. He wants to hear her confession. Mo Yeon agrees to talk to him and asks that he release her arm first. Don’t trust her Shi Jin, she’s slippery as an eel! Right on cue, the moment he loosens his grip she bolts right out the door.
Dr. Song and Nurse Ha take a walk while musing at how an earthquake can bring together a pair of lovers. Dr. Song is impressed at how others live so dramatically and suggests to Nurse Ha that they spice up their love life with stolen kisses and whatnot but she barks back at him.
The soldiers are discussing the future of Mo Yeon and Shi Jin and they are so on point it’s hilarious. One wonders if they need to call her sister-in-law but is told that is only after they get married. Sargent Choi doesn’t like Dr. Kang for their Captain because she’s pretty and earns a lot of money as a doctor, which makes him wonder why she’s dating a soldier. What if this is just an overseas romance to her because of the circumstances? And as soldiers they are always on the move with no stability. After he walks away the younger soldiers discuss that Sargent Choi has a capable and pretty girlfriend back home as well that is like Mo Yeon.
Mo Yeon meets up with the medical team to assign tasks for this last night before departure. The team is more interested in her love life with Shi Jin, asking if she confessed to the handsome captain, or was it Shi Jin who confessed to her first. Mo Yeon is all business and announces the first group leave for Korea but can’t help stumbling over the first part since they group is laughing about whether today is considered the first day for Mo Yeon and Shi Jin’s romance.
Chi Hoon is tending to injured Min Jae and remains nervous and awkward around him. Min Jae asks for another doctor to treat him because Chi Hoon doesn’t seem all that capable but Dr. Song isn’t ready to accede to Min Jae’s demands. But Dr. Song does take note of Chi Hoon’s jittery state around Min Jae.
Mo Yeon is sneaking around the base to try and avoid being seen by anyone but of course runs smack into Myung Joo. She can tell Mo Yeon is trying to lay low from the embarrassing confession and is suddenly curious now to see what a romance between Mo Yeon and Shi Jin will be like.
Mo Yeon talks in seriousness with Myung Joo about whether she’s worried that her soldier love is always at risk dying or disappearing? Myung Joo accepts that risk because she’s more scared of being without him in her life. Right now Myung Joo is happy and not afraid because she’s in the same place as the man she loves. Mo Yeon watches Myung Joo stride off confidently.
Shi Jin stares at his rock before Myung Joo walks over to chide him for looking so down in the dumps. Shi Jin isn’t despondent, he’s just trying to think through stuff and asks if Myung Joo ever worried over her boyfriend’s job. Myung Joo can’t believe both Mo Yeon and Shi Jin is asking her the same question one after the other. Shi Jin wants to know how Myung Joo answered Mo Yeon but she tells him to hear it from Mo Yeon directly.
Myung Joo takes Shi Jin’s rock and asks who he is planning on chucking it at? Shi Jin is still thinking on that and wants his rock back. She challenges him to come get it back but ends up backing into Dae Young who can tell that Myung Joo is still mad at him. She is because all she asked for was some private cuddle time after dinner and he can’t even do that.
Shi Jin is all chuckles thinking Myung Joo was turned down trying to sleep with Dae Young but all she wanted was to hold hands and hugs a bit. But Dae Young can’t even hold her hand properly ever, so she hands the rock back to Shi Jin and tells him to chuck it at Dae Young.
Mo Yeon, Min Ji, and Nurse Ha are washing up in the morning and have resumed their breathless drooling over shirtless soldiers on their morning jog. Min Ji freaks Mo Yeon out by pretending to call out for Shi Jin which sends Mo Yeon running off and almost into the jogging soldiers.
Mo Yeon finds a quiet corner of a residence to hide at but instead finds Shi Jin perched on a window which naturally freaks her out. Shi Jin can tell Mo Yeon was tricked when she finds out he’s been here all along. Mo Yeon makes an excuse about a meeting and Shi Jin offers to drive her since he’s going there too and doesn’t want her stuck on a cliff.
Shi Jin asks Mo Yeon to stop avoiding him and don’t be embarrassed that her deepest thoughts about him were revealed. In the end he likes her so much more than she likes him. Shi Jin admires how pretty Mo Yeon looks today which gets her to smile. He sends off her to meeting him ten minutes later at the front gate.
Myung Joo walks up to the same window and opens it to find Dae Young there which makes her mad thinking Mo Yeon was just talking to Dae Young.
Ye Hwa is tending to the soldiers by offering acupuncture and young Ki Bum continues to study his books for the high school equivalent exam. The soldiers fret when they learn that Ye Hwa is not licensed in acupuncture and learned it from her dad. Ki Bum asks about where Ye Hwa is from since her accent is different and hears that she’s from Goryeo, which Ki Bum only knows as a historical era in Korean history.
Shi Jin drives Mo Yeon through the countryside after their meeting with the UN staff, with Mo Yeon wondering how come everyone she meets is so relaxed? Shi Jin explains that a sense of humor is important because they are dealing with such serious tasks. Mo Yeon asks how Shi Jin feels doing such a dangerous job and he says no more than falling in love.
Shi Jin wants to know how many boyfriends Mo Yeon had before and she wonders why guys always want to know this? Suddenly their truck is run off the road and Shi Jin’s observation reveals the area to be studded with real landmines. Shi Jin thinks the earthquakes moved the buried mines over to this area and he will need to clear it.
Shi Jin can’t get any reception from his walkie talkie so borrows Mo Yeon’s purse to carry his land mine flags so they can make their way out. He assures Mo Yeon that he will make sure she doesn’t die.
Mo Yeon follows behind Shi Jin as they carefully make their way through secure safe spots. It’s a different excuse for skinship as he has to keep her close. When Shi Jin unearths a landmine he plants a flag beside it to mark the spot. Shi Jin jokes that Mo Yeon needs to stay behind him close but it’ll also give her a good view to appreciate his backside.
Shi Jin and Mo Yeon slowly make their way out of the landmine infested area. Mo Yeon collapse son the ground once they are safe and Shi Jin compliments her for doing well. Mo Yeon can’t believe how many times she’s experienced near death situations now, and on top of that ruined two cars in the process. Shi Jin agrees, even though he wants to do a romance drama with her it’s unfortunate that they are always involved in action films. Shi Jin suddenly asks if Mo Yeon brought her lipstick with her. He takes it and writes on a wooden board “landmine area, do not enter” which he plants on the outskirts. Mo Yeon takes the lipstick and draws a dangerous skeleton sign in case people don’t speak English.
Mo Yeon and Shi Jin keep walking and she asks if they are going to walk the entire way back. He wonders if they should hold hands and walk since at this rate it will be morning time before they reach base. Mo Yeon says no and Shi Jin pouts since he’s the male lead in Mo Yeon’s death confession, lol. Mo Yeon sticks with her story that it’s not her in that recording and Shi Jin is miffed she’s so different in life and near death.
Shi Jin thinks she’s the same way in the morning and afternoon, in the morning she’s pretty……..and in the afternoon she’s even prettier. That gets a smile out of her but his glib tongue also gets Mo Yeon to throw the question back at him – does he have a truck full of women behind him?
Shi Jin doesn’t answer and walks off when he sees a truck drive up but it doesn’t stop to pick them up. Shi Jin jokes that Mo Yeon’s looks don’t work here and suggests using his gun on the arriving second truck. Mo Yeon won’t let him until that truck also drives past them, at which point she tells him to car jack the next truck. Luckily that trucks stops ahead and waves them on.
Shi Jin and Mo Yeon ride in the back of the truck and talk turns to how Myung Joo answered Mo Yeon’s question about being worried with a soldier for a boyfriend. Mo Yeon says Myung Joo is less scared about her boyfriend’s job than being apart from him. Shi Jin asks if they will be apart soon, if Mo Yeon’s name is on the list of doctors going back to Korea? Mo Yeon calmly says that her name is not on the list and he asks why she’s staying? Mo Yeon is staying because of Shi Jin, because she wants to be with him.
Mo Yeon wonders if this is her confession to Shi Jin, and whether he wants her to apologize for earlier stuffs? Shi Jin says he wants a certain apology from her and leans over to pull Mo Yeon in for a kiss. They kiss and break apart to stare at each other before Mo Yeon takes the lead and pulls Shi Jin in for another kiss as the truck drives into the sunset in the beautiful bucolic countryside.
The new couple part back at the base, with Shi Jin going to do roll call and Mo Yeon heading to check on the medical team. After Mo Yeon turns around we see her entire hair and backside is covered in hay from the hay in the truck bed, and the same is on Shi Jin as well. LOVE IT!
Dr. Song and Nurse Ha check out Mo Yeon and Shi Jin as they walk off in opposite directions and see the signs of making out. Nurse Ha is concerned about the upcoming embarrassment but Dr. Song is envious of the good time those two must have had.
The construction site Manager is trying to run away but Argus and his man are there to collect on the diamonds. The Manager hands over the backpack with the diamonds inside a safe deposit box. He explains that the lock is broken and he can’t open it so he’s handing the entire thing to Argus. Despite getting the diamonds, Argus pulls a gun because he was late. The Manager begs for his life and brings up the earthquake and then promises to do anything he’s told. Argus spares his life after he gets that promise.
Argus is furious once he hears that there are no diamonds in the safe deposit box after it’s opened. He orders his men to find the Manager now.
The Manager is at the Hae Sung medical facility demanding treatment for pain in his shoulder. He wants to be airlifted immediately back to Seoul for proper treatment. Myung Joo asks if he’s trying to buy a plane ticket here and the Manager has to be dragged out by Dae Young.
Dae Young tosses the Manager out and warns him to back off before he becomes a real patient. The Manager tries a different tack and apologies for his rudeness earlier. Chi Hoon walks over and offers the Manager his seat on the plane leaving tomorrow.
The Manager gets on the bus with the rest of the departing medical team and a flashback shows that he swallowed the diamonds before handing over the safe deposit box to Argus. The remainder of the team all notice Chi Hoon isn’t there to send people off, and has been weird lately looking unkempt and not talking much.
Dr. Song finds Chi Hoon in the storage area and tries to counsel him on how hard it has been these days. He wonders why Chi Hoon doesn’t want to go home to his pregnant wife? Chi Hoon can’t go now because if he does then he’s not a real doctor. Dr. Song asks bluntly if something happened between Chi Hoon and Min Jae? Chi Hoon doesn’t want to talk about it but plans to do with it himself, and if he can’t then he will ask Dr. Song for help then.
The departing medical team along with the Manager arrives at the airport and Argus’s men are there scoping it out but the Manager hides to avoid detection.
Argus is told the Manager hasn’t been found yet so he orders a different delivery – red rose instead of guns. We see a young girl solemnly combing her hair.
Shi Jin is using his rifle scope to spy on Mo Yeon washing her face outside and he’s all smiles watching her. He asks out loud if his target is the head, no it’s the heart but his target is simply too beautiful.
Dae Young walks up to report that the squads gun checks are all done and hears that Shi Jin is done with his rifle check. Dae Young thinks the rifle looks fine but the gunner might have some problems. Suddenly a call comes through that Yellow Tiger is arriving tomorrow for an inspection. Sargent Choi reports that to Myung Joo because Yellow Tiger is General Yoon’s call sign.
Shi Jin gathers his troops the next morning to prepare for the inspection. Everyone gets to work cleaning up the base inside and out. Too bad the inspection is cancelled as General Yoon needs to meet with the UN members first, but he’s summoned Shi Jin, Dae Young, Myung Joo, and Mo Yeon to the airport.
Mo Yeon asks Shi Jin how she should address General Yoon and he tells her to call him Soldier Agjusshi lol. General Yoon walks off the plane and all the soldiers salute him, with Mo Yeon adorably putting her hand over her chest which makes Shi Jin suppress a smile.
General Yoon makes time to meet with the foursome first in his office. He tells them to sit and Mo Yeon quickly goes to take a seat but stops when she sees the other three remain standing. General Yoon thanks Mo Yeon for her bravery and actions during the earthquake and then sends her out.
General Yoon first finishes the official update on the post-earthquake recovery before dropping the military talk and turning it personal. He asks if Shi Jin is on his side or the enemy side, and whether he has any romantic feelings for Myung Joo?
Shi Jin honestly says Myung Joo is his beloved little sister in the army and nothing more. He’s dismissed and heads out to join Mo Yeon. She’s happy to hear that Shi Jin is no longer the son-in-law candidate anymore.
General Yoon addresses Myung Joo but stares at Dae Young, asking if she’s happy to see Dae Young again? She’s happy and tells her dad to stop pressuring Dae Young. General Yoon asks if he’s changed his mind? He thought Dae Young wanted the same for Myung Joo? She takes his arm and starts to say that nothing Dae Young says will change her mind. Dae Young takes Myung Joo’s hand and announces that he will never let go of her again.
General Yoon orders Myung Joo out and tells Dae Young that he has two wishes as a soldier – to be a good leader and a good father. Now he’s failed at both. General Yoon will now agree to let Dae Young and Myung Joo date with an eye towards marriage, but he wants more from his son-in-law. He doesn’t want a middle of the road soldier so he wants Dae Young to quit the armed forces and become a civilian and pursue a career there.
Shi Jin is pumping gas and notices Mo Yeon deep in thought. She wonders why Shi Jin never dated Myung Joo since she’s smart and from a suitable family. Shi Jin doesn’t see a need to date someone just because she’s pretty and from a good family. That irks Mo Yeon since she never said pretty.
Shi Jin drops some kisses on his jealous girlfriend to placate her.
They encounter the gas station owner stopped a little boy pickpocket who is stealing medicine. Mo Yeon wants to go back with the child to his village as she thinks he might have measles and it’s highly contagious.
Myung Joo is ecstatic that her dad has relented and is allowing her to date Dae Young. He’s happy as well to make this report to her but she starts to wonder if something happened to her dad like he has a terminal disease. She runs off to ask him personally before she’ll believe it. After she leaves is when Dae Young’s smile drops a bit.
Shi Jin drives Mo Yeon to the little boy’s village and tries to radio in but gets no answer. Back on the base the Dae Young and the soldiers think it’s strange that the GPS suddenly cut out on where Shi Jin is located.
Shi Jin tries to ask an adult tending to the kids about when they started getting sick. The little girl in red is able to speak English and Mo Yeon wants her to bring the kids over. The girl says the kids here have no hope so it doesn’t matter, the boys join gangs and the girls are sold to pimps, and soon it will be her turn. She is willing to help on the condition that Shi Jin and Mo Yeon to take her away from here.
Dae Young summons Daniel to explain the nature of that village and hears it’s a village of children kept for trafficking. Shi Jin hears this information over the phone and sees Argus arriving at the village. He hangs up and rushes back.
Mo Yeon sees Argus drive up and asks if he’s the guardian of these kids. She explains that the kids are very sick and she’s a doctor from Korea. Shi Jin darts in front of Mo Yeon and keeps her tucked behind him while ignoring attempts from Argus to be friendly. Argus remembers that he saw Mo Yeon by the funeral and laughs that he’s got the advantage now.
Suddenly the little girl in red shoots Argus in the side before running over and handing the gun to Shi Jin. Argus calls for Mo Yeon to treat him as a doctor but the little girl tells her not to save him.
Mo Yeon decides not to save Argus because if she does then more people will die. Shi Jin tells her to do her only job as a doctor and let him do the killing when it’s necessary.
Thoughts of Mine:
I knew it! I totally knew Mo Yeon would be challenged on her black and white view of doctors saving lives and soldiers inflicting death. Argus is a simplistic laughable villain but having him need immediate medical attention from Mo Yeon is a great plot device, bringing together her doctor’s creed to an individual against the greater good of others. It was fantastic to see Shi Jin make the right choice for her, to save Argus no matter what because at this point there is no evidence that Argus is a super baddie who deserves to die. He was no immediate threat when the little girl shot him, so Shi Jin has no exigent circumstances to sentence him to death. It would be rather pointless for Mo Yeon to save him only to have him duke it out with Shi Jin and end up dead, but that’s not a factor that should be part of Mo Yeon’s decision making scope. She just went through the aftermath of the major earthquake and it should have been so eye opening, it’s time for her to see what else Shi Jin needs to deal with as a soldier so that she keeps learning the true cost of loving a military man.
Episode 9 continued the easy watching and entertaining pace of the drama, transitioning seamlessly from three episodes of earthquake relief to local problems, namely baddie Argus and his band of traffickers. First it was guns, then diamonds, and now he peddles children – clearly he’s beyond redemption but it’s still a shocker to hear Mo Yeon so quickly decide to forsake her Hippocratic Oath. I do have the feeling that she would have changed her mind even if Shi Jin didn’t push her, but her ability to start seeing in shades of gray after leaving the ivory tower of Hae Sung hospital is a realistic change. Just like Chi Hoon is all shook up by his own failings, Mo Yeon has so far pulled through each time she’s faced with a medical crisis and this time it’s not ability but consequences to saving Argus. As a doctor she can’t make a choice not to save him, just like as a soldier Shi Jin can’t make a choice to not obey a directive. But earlier we saw him do it and accept the fallout, this time I want to see how Mo Yeon emerges from this quagmire. Shi Jin is right that she just needs to do her duty as a doctor regardless of the consequences, and leave that for him as the law enforcement.
I was totally expecting Dae Young and Myung Joo to make headway with General Yoon, and this episode was as good as any because the situations milking his reticence towards her and her open pursuit of him, while adorable, was starting to wear thin. I’m impressed she hasn’t lost her patience but goes to show that she’s truly serious about him, and it’s high time that daddy started taking his adult capable daughter’s own wishes into consideration. I don’t think it’s that difficult a decision for Dae Young to leave the military in exchange for being with Myung Joo, plenty of future in-laws have asked for job upgrades or lodging requirements, it feels more like a waste of a great soldier to have Dae Young switch professions. But Dae Young doesn’t seem as wedded to the nation serving ethos of Shi Jin, he picked the military path to get away from the gang life and happened to excel at it with his personality and dedication. In the greater scheme of things he should pick Myung Joo over his military career, and hopefully that might earn more brownie points with General Yoon.
The truck bed hayride confession complete with kisses and aftermath hints of rolling around making out was one of the best wink wink romantic situations seen in a drama in quite some time. I’m so pleased with the playful lead up to Shi Jin and Mo Yeon’s big step forward in dating in the present. It wasn’t tearful or dramatic, just a repeat of the earlier landmine situation except for real, but also having bridged much more understanding in the interim. This time there is trust and real acceptance of each other’s strengths, Shi Jin leading the way and Mo Yeon doing as he says and contributing her own part to getting things done. They are looking like a partnership rather than simply people who are attracted to each other. It helps that Mo Yeon overthinking things gave her the time to get to know Shi Jin more, because he alternates between flirtatious teasing and macho soldier mode without showing the average middle normalcy. It’s fine since this drama does stretch the situations and settings so the characterizations need to be more colorful to pop, but one does wonder what Shi Jin does in his down time or what Mo Yeon’s life is outside being a doctor collecting wild stories to share when she gets back to Korea. At least she’s going to return with a handsome charming and capable new boyfriend and badges of gratitude for a job well done, one can say getting banished to Urk was a blessing in disguise.
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