If there is one thing Kim Eun Sook does well that is nearly universally agreed upon, it’s writing standalone second leads with their own story that isn’t predicated on glomming onto the first leads. There are a few exceptions such as in Heirs when Kim Woo Bin crushed on Park Shin Hye, but even there his conflict with Lee Min Ho’s character and unresolved paternal angst played a bigger role in the story. But most of the time Kim Eun Sook second leads have their own love line or simply own raison d’etre in the story and that’s once again in full display in Descendants of the Sun.
Kim Ji Won and Jin Goo‘s star-crossed military couple is simply love for me, individually apart and yearning to be together. He’s so manly and restrained, she’s so assertive and cute, on paper it might feel synthetically characterized but their performances liven up the interactions to create a consistent three dimensionality. They are in the pages of the recent issue of Grazia magazine looking like Myung Joo and Dae Young eloped to the Mediterranean. If it only were so. I’ve always respected Jin Goo for being a very good actor but never warmed to him until now, and am happy that he’s finally getting due exposure thanks to this popular albeit lightweight fare.