As usual for a Kim Eun Sook drama, the romance may ratchet up a notch even if feelings and intentions aren’t always cleared up in advance. It’s less a stumbling fumbling type of confusion, belonging more to the complications of adults sensing too many practical incompatibilities but not being able to turn off the attraction nodule. I continue to like Shi Jin and Mo Yeon but don’t love them, their interactions are hinging on too much banter and jumping to conclusions followed by apology. I’d like to see Mo Yeon be less impetuous and Shi Jin smarter about getting what he wants. If he wants Mo Yeon there are way better routes to winning her heart, even with her reservation, than putting country on the line to do a massively risky operation.
I know it’s dramatic and all but this episode’s big issue pushed Descendants of the Sun into ridiculous zone for me, when before it was merely fantasy land with a sliver of plausibility. None of this mars my enjoyment of the drama still but it is good to see what is coming and adjust expectations accordingly. Absurd medical emergencies aside, the episode made solid progress with Shi Jin and Mo Yeon’s increased understanding of each other, in both thought process and professional struggles, and on that front Mo Yeon really needs to let off on Shi Jin more. She’s too headstrong and not considerate enough until called out on it, if she does indeed want to love a soldier then it’s time she start opening her eyes fully to what that entails.
Episode 4 recap:
Arab envoy Mubarat needs emergency medical attention and is taken to the Hae Sung medical facility as the nearest option. I don’t know why they bothered because Mubarat’s bodyguards immediately draw their guns and refuse to let the doctors operate on him, insisting on waiting until the Arab doctors arrive. Mo Yeon insists that he needs surgery now as his belly is swollen with abdominal bleeding. Shi Jin gets Mo Yeon to put her mouth where her money is and assure him that she can save the patient’s life.
Shi Jin contravenes direct orders from Colonel Park to not operate on Mubarat against his bodyguard’s wishes, pulling his gun and telling the doctors to wheel the patient into the OR. The doctors wheel the patient into the OR as the Korean soldiers face off against Mubarat’s bodyguards. Mo Yeon turns back to stare at Shi Jin who hilariously turns to stare at her as well, despite the gun pointed two inches from his head. Clearly both sides just need to get their gun toting jollies off and no one is going to start shooting.
General Yoon rushes to the Blue House for a meeting as everyone in Korea gets the update that the patient is in the OR. The Korean doctor back in Seoul confirms Mo Yeon’s diagnosis is correct but the politicians just don’t want an international incident on their hands. Neither does the hospital Managing Director as he rushes to join the meeting.
Colonel Park is radioing in for Shi Jin to stop this nonsense but no one is paying attention to him. The sound of sirens wailing confirm that the Korean soldiers are mobilizing for an emergency DefCon1. Colonel Park orders Shi Jin to stop the surgery now and drag the doctors away otherwise he will kill then all!
The doctors notice an old surgery scar on Mubarat that wasn’t on his medical file. Dr. Song is hesitant and wants to stop but Mo Yeon is all about doctor duty to save the life of a patient. She starts the surgery while outside Mubarat’s bodyguard is warning that this will lead to conflict but Shi Jin stands his ground, insisting that the doctors inside are just doing their duty to save a life.
Mubarat’s vitals start to fall and he’s bleeding profusely. Chi Hoon is a nervous wreck since he just became a new dad. Mu Yeon remains calm and orders Chi Hoon to get more blood from the bank so they can continue the surgery. Chi Hoon passes by the standoff on his way to get more blood. Dae Young radios back to Colonel Park that the surgery remains underway. The Arab contingent doctors are close to arriving on site.
Mo Yeon and Dr. Song close the anyeurism and the patient’s vitals have stabilized. Mo Yeon expertly sutures the patient as everyone lets out a sigh of relief. Mubarak’s doctor checks him out in recovery and confirms that the surgery went well, but warns that the patient still needs to wake up for the operation to be considered a success. Mo Yeon is uncowed and sasses back that if she did nothing there would be a dead body right now. The doctors are all exhausted and hungry, but Chi Hoon is genuinely worried about the ramifications if the patient doesn’t wake up.
The President’s Chief of Staff meets with General Yoon and the Managing Director and gives the command that a scapegoat be readied if the worst case were to happen. General Yoon places a call to Dae Young that Shi Jin is to be stripped of his position and placed under military arrest for contravening orders. He does tell Dae Young that he’s proud of what his squad did but the orders don’t change.
Shi Jin can tell from the downcast faces of his team and hands over his weapons and gear to go willingly. Dae Young informs Shi Jin that he’s being detained for insubordination.
The medical team is having ramyun when Min Ji suddenly wonders if she counted the gauze swabs wrong and some may have been left inside the patient. Dang, even not knowing if that happened is such careless malpractice. Nurse Ha wants to go back and recount just to make sure.
Colonel Park pays a visit to the detained Shi Jin and starts off being petty with a swift kick to the shin while calling Shi Jin a crazy bastard. He demands to know why Shi Jin ruined his future with such a crazy stunt but Shi Jin is unapologetic, wanting only to accept responsibility for his solo actions.
Mo Yeon arrives wanting to see Shi Jin and encounters the leaving Colonel Park who happens to want to see the insane doctor Kang Mo Yeon. He hears the patient is in recovery and being monitored and chides Mo Yeon for being so arrogant as to think everything will be fine. He brings up her confidence because she’s got skills and can open her own practice if she was fired, but now Shi Jin’s career is over. His ten years as a soldier down the train and his life may be over as well if the patient doesn’t wake up. Colonel Park sighs and asks Mo Yeon to make sure the patient wakes up so everyone here will be fine as well.
Colonel Park orders Dae Young to pack and head to the airport, his transfer order isn’t changing. He places the base under the command of Lieutenant Choi for the time being. Before leaving he tells both men that if they are questioned back in Korea to place all the responsibility solely on Yoo Shi Jin.
Dae Young goes to say his farewells to Shi Jin who wonders if Dae Young doesn’t want to disobey an order for the first time. Dae Young apologizes for leaving at a time like this and wants to give a report to Shi Jin who declines since he’s not Dae Young’s superior anymore. Dae Young tells Shi Jin that all his decisions today were correct and honorable. He will see Shi Jin back in Korea. Shi Jin promises to treat Dae Young to three days and nights of soju carousing when he gets back. Dae Young gives his official report and turns out it’s currently May 2015 in the drama timeline.
Dae Young brings Mo Yeon to meet with Shi Jin, giving her ten minutes to talk. Mo Yeon and Shi Jin talk through the warehouse wall as Dae Young leaves for the airport. Mo Yeon is pretty down while Shi Jin remains his cheerful self. She apologizes but he doesn’t see the need since she’s a doctor doing her duty. Mo Yeon brings up how the patient hasn’t woken up yet but Shi Jin doesn’t like how she’s concerned about so many men and suggests she just be worried about him only. He brings up how she was telling the truth about being sexy in the OR but Mo Yeon is in no mood to joke.
Mo Yeon knows that Shi Jin didn’t have to make that choice back there but Shi Jin reminds her that his motto is to protect women, kids, and the elderly, and back there was two out of the three. He compliments Mo Yeon for being so brave but she’s started to cry outside the door and he can hear it. She asks about his situation in the warehouse and wonders if he needs anything. He needs some explosives because he suddenly wants to blast out of there because of a certain someone.
Mo Yeon can’t believe he can joke at a time like this and that’s exactly what Shi Jin is impressed with himself to do something so difficult. Time’s up and Mo Yeon hands through the crack to Shi Jin a spiral of incense to keep the mosquito away. He gladly accepts and says this is exactly what needs, then we see that he’s in a warehouse with boxes of it. Mo Yeon dejectedly heads off while Shi Jin broods in the warehouse.
The little local boy that Chi Hoon helped is awake and wandering around the facility. He goes to check on Mubarat and touches his face to ask if he’s well. A bodyguard drags him away before realizing that Mubarat has regained consciousness.
The medical team lets out a giant sigh of relief the next morning that the patient is awake. Dr. Song claims this is his second most stressful surgery of his career, with the most stressful being operating on Nurse Ha’s mom. The team is called to join the soldiers in sending off the patient in a helicopter.
Lieutenant Choi reports to Dae Young that all is resolved and wishes him a safe flight back to Korea. Ki Bum is all weepy that Dae Young left just like that while Dae Young orders Lieutenant Choi to keep an eye on Ki Bum’s studies.
Dae Young walks up to the transport plane just in time to see a happy Myung Joo walk off. Ooooof, so not fair, I hate you Daddy Yoon! Myung Joo’s smile is wiped away to see Dae Young standing there with all his belongings, walking up to ask where he’s going and whether he’s running away again?
Dae Young pulls rank on her to report that he’s been transferred back to Korea. Myung Joo slaps him and then yells at him for asking her to wait to him and claiming that retreat is their best option at this time, promising that he will come back to her no matter what. Dae Young tells Myung Joo to keep her uniform on at all times since there are lots of mosquitos around.
Myung Joo wrist grabs Dae Young as he walks past her and he stops to pull her tight for a hug. Myung Joo is crying and asks what Dae Young wants her to do? Dae Young tells her to take care of herself in the base and gets on the plane. Myung Joo yells at him for touching her and he has to take responsibility now. She wonders how he can be so considerate of another woman but not to her.
Myung Joo sobs on the tarmac and flashes back to attending the wedding with Dae Young. Turns out he’s not there to ruin the wedding, he had promised to take care of the girl so he wants her to fully move on now otherwise she will not find happiness. So he is there to tell her that he’s moved on so she can not have any lingering regrets. Myung Joo plays her part well as the pretty doctor girlfriend as she plasters herself against Dae Young. He wishes the bride well and asks not to have any future interactions.
Afterwards Myung Joo and Dae Young go out for drinks and he thanks her for helping him today. She reminds him to tell the world that they are dating so she doesn’t have to marry Yoo Shi Jin. They end up going out on dates for drinks periodically. Myung Joo complains about how she still wants to get married just not to Shi Jin, so why does the entire base think she’s slept with Dae Young. He takes no responsibility for that, he just did as she told and said they were dating, it’s the imagination of the soldiers that is spreading the word that they are sleeping together.
Myung Joo can’t believe guys associate dating with sleeping together, and that’s all they can think about. Dae Young suggests she do that if she wants to claim victory but she thinks this is a losing war. Dae Young suggests a way to get even if she makes the rumor a reality. Dang, you’re a smooth one as well, but for that suggestion Dae Young gets whacked by an angry Myung Joo.
General Yoon gets a report that Dae Young had left Urk. He gets a call from the Chief of Staff who reports that the Arabs want to sweep this surgery under the rug and pretend it never happened, that he was never at the medical facility. He leaves the punishment or reward of Shi Jin at the discretion of the army. General Yoon orders Shi Jin to be released from detention, to delete all files related to the surgery, and to convene a disciplinary committee.
Shi Jin sits down to breakfast and finds himself facing tons of tofu. Ki Bum has cooked various tofu dishes to cleanse Shi Jin from getting out of jail, lol. Shi Jin thanks to the team for working so hard during this time and promises to treat them to a bbq feast this weekend.
Mo Yeon rushes into talk to Shi Jin and he excuses himself to talk outside right then and there as all the soldiers stare at them. Shi Jin is impressed that Mo Yeon did save the patient and thinks she’s become cool since he last saw her. She thanks him for believing in her and admits it was pretty scary back there. She asks if Shi Jin was scared but he’s used to situations like that. He apologizes for the dig about her being a TV doctor but she thinks it was true so no big deal. Mo Yeon wonders if either side would really have fired on each other and freaks out at Shi Jin’s silence.
Mubarat’s bodyguard arrives to bring them to meet with Mubarat who wants to thank them for saving his life. Mo Yeon tells Mubarat to not worry as much as stress can cause anyuerisms. Mo Yeon believes it was her duty to save Mubarat’s life but Shi Jin dares to say that in this turbulent world war is easy and peace is hard which is why powerful people tend to live very long. Mubarat understands Shi Jin more than Mo Yeon but thanks her for the medical advice. His bodyguard hands over a gold business card that is basically a golden ticket in the Arab world and can help her out of any bind. Mo Yeon asks for another card in case she loses hers, and shouldn’t Shi Jin get one too, which makes Mubarak laugh.
Shi Jin uses his card immediately to ask the bodyguard for Mubarak’s car for the day which pisses off Mo Yeon that he used such a priceless item for just a car. How can he have no ambition, he could ask for barrels of oil even and buy as many cars as he wants. Shi Jin is fine with it as he asked for something he wanted, there is two more hours since he needs to be back to base so he can drive Mo Yeon to a date now. Mo Yeon calls him crazy and then brings up how she didn’t agree to go on a date with him. Shi Jin wasn’t asking her and suggests they grab a juice. Mo Yeon pouts that he needs to ask her.
Mo Yeon can’t let go of the wasted card and warns Shi Jin not to have eyes on her card. She wonders what she should do with it. Maybe take a picture with Mubarat, plastered all over the clinic she would make a mint. Shi Jin wants to know why Mo Yeon became a doctor and she’s unapologetic that she did it because she was good at the sciences and being a doctor makes a lot of money. She doesn’t want a hard life always worried about money. Her motto is to get paid for what she’s worth and if she opens a clinic it will be in Gangnam.
Shi Jin wonders why Mo Yeon wants to pretend to be a bad person but Mo Yeon isn’t pretending, the goal of making money as a doctor has become who she is in the time since he last saw her. She’s changed a lot but he hasn’t. Shi Jin teases that he’s become more handsome and compliments that Mo Yeon’s smile is evencprettier. They stare at each other until a call comes in for Shi Jin and he’s has to go. Mo Yeon brings up how every one of their dates ends like this. If he’s not going anywhere classified then she wants to go with him. Shi Jin doesn’t want to take her to this place because it will be detrimental for him. He means detrimental in the way that his very job is a barrier between them. Even so Mo Yeon wants to go with him.
Shi Jin takes Mo Yeon to a funeral for two fallen former comrades from an international peacekeeper squad. Turns out now gun smuggler Argus was a former comrade with Shi Jin. He’s observing the funeral from a distance before driving off to go do his shady business.
Shi Jin and Mo Yeon return to base and she finally asks about the funeral. Shi Jin explains the deceased are former comrades but cuts short fMo Yeon’s twenty one questions.
The next morning Mo Yeon sees the soldiers on their morning jog but is in no mood to admire the man candy. She asks Lieutenant Choi where Shi Jin went and hears he went to the main base for the disciplinary committee hearing. Mo Yeon thinks everything is over but is told that Shi Jin was insubordinate in not following orders so Mo Yeon can do the surgery, how can she think everything is fine.
Shi Jin’s accepts his punishment which is a dock in three months pay and his name stricken from the promotion ledger. He encounters Myung Joo on his way out and she adorably trips him since his mind is on something else. Myung Joo is impressed at the ruckus Shi Jin caused while he suggests she quit the army to go live in Gangnam. Myung Joo has ambitions to become a general and with Shi Jin’s punishment she may become one before him. Talk turns to Dae Young and he hears Myung Joo ran into him at the airport and asks if the airport still exists lol.
Shi Jin runs off when he sees Mo Yeon arriving to go talk to Colonel Park. She tries to explain that Shi Jin shouldn’t be punished and wants to take responsibility because she wanted to do the surgery. Colonel Park explains that Shi Jin’s discipline is for insubordination and it’s not something she can take responsibility for. True dat. Shi Jin rushes in and drags Mo Yeon off.
Shi Jin drives Mo Yeon to a bluff to ask that she stop trying to help him. He didn’t do this for her, bringing up his gunshot wound when she first met him. Wearing his soldier uniform it’s something he wears with honor but also ready to die in it at any time. Everything he does is for honor and his country and comrades, and that led him to make that decision he did back there. But it doesn’t change his insubordination and he doesn’t want Mo Yeon to get involved with army matters.
Mo Yeon tearily apologizes for caring about him and wanting to help. She gets in the car and drives off, leaving poor Shi Jin behind. Mo Yeon cries the entire drive back to the base.
Shi Jin gets a call from Dae Young back in Seoul who asks about Myung Joo but Shi Jin brings up how he got docked salary and can’t get a promotion so why is Dae Young asking about a woman. Dae Young wonders who much money Shi Jin will lose for a woman. Shi Jin claims he’s doing this for his countrymen but Dae Young says it’s because a certain countryman is very pretty. Dae Young asks about Myung Joo again and Shi Jin growls at him about the cost of international phone calls and how much money he’ll waste on a woman before hanging up.
Shi Jin is dropped off back at the base by his subordinate and he heads into the mess hall kitchen to retrieve a bottle of wine Dae Young told him about hidden under the sink. He runs into Mo Yeon who acts awkward until Shi Jin tell her that he wants her to stay and hang out. Mo Yeon walks closer and Shi Jin offers her wine. She takes a drink directly from the bottle rather than waiting for a glass, my kind of girl!
Mo Yeon offers him a swig and hears that stationed soldiers can’t drink, though Shi Jin was planning to sneak a sip in but can’t now that there is an eyewitness around. Mo Yeon apologizes first for what she said back there and hears that Shi Jin was just about to apologize. She asks how he got back and he claims to have run back but she saw him get out of the truck. He wonders why she asked then and hears that she wanted to hear a joke from him.
Mo Yeon compliments Shi Jin on looking very handsome in his military uniform, explaining that girls have uniform fantasies, which Shi Jin knows because that was his reason for becoming a soldier. Mo Yeon takes another drink and Shi Jin brings up how he had wanted to watch a movie with her then go for drinks. He asks if she watched the movie and hears she didn’t. In fact, the next time she goes to see a movie she will pick a less popular one because that movie was so popular it was in the news all the time and every time she heard of it she thought about Yoo Shi Jin.
Mo Yeon again offers Shi Jin a drink from the wine bottle and Shi Jin stares at her before saying there is a way for that. He walks right up to Mo Yeon and kisses her.
Thoughts of Mine:
Kim Eun Sook writes memorable characters, which can either be in a good way or in a terribly hateful way, but she does her magic in making audiences spark with emotion when watching. In many ways Shi Jin is cut from the same cloth as all her previous alpha male leads, so his sudden kiss on Mo Yeon doesn’t surprise me but is also less problematic in this instance. Song Joong Ki plays Shi Jin with such a nice guy aura and twinkle of mischievousness, it tempers the domineering aspect of his confident character. When he tells Mo Yeon they are going on a date or when he takes a kiss, it’s with the belief that Mo Yeon is not adverse to it. Sure he doesn’t get her permission but he’s also not forcing himself on her, she could have said no to the date and we can see on the kiss in the next episode. I feel like Shi Jin’s character is on elevated footing from the beginning because of how respectful he was to Mo Yeon wanting to end things abruptly in Seoul, he never pushed her and let her walk out of his life. He also spent episode 3 taking things slow with her to probe her intentions, and I feel like he is aware that she’s still interested in him. If he makes moves at least it doesn’t come across as pressuring someone who is genuinely against it.
Mo Yeon tried my patience in this episode at times, but I also liked her visceral approach in others. I just wish she starts thinking more before doing things, she seems prone to leaping to action before careful consideration. In a medical context I don’t doubt her diagnosis, but when it comes to Shi Jin she is a mess of do first then ask questions later. Her cluelessness about military protocol is frustrating because she’s so smart and it makes her look like an idiot who resorts to crying about how much she cares. Shi Jin and Dae Young, and even Myung Joo, they all come across as way more mature and thoughtful. In fact all the soldiers seem more even keeled than the naïve and bird brained medical team. The doctors may be medical knowledge smart but on Urk they are a bunch of kids needing to be taken care of. I foresee that initial cute will wear off soon unless they all wise up and toughen up soon. This first surgery was so LOL hilariously bad from the arrival down to the way the patient woke up. It’s not even worth discussion in any seriousness but I give it some credit for being sleekly engaging. I can also forgive the hamfisted way it addressed Mo Yeon and Shi Jin’s big issue of saving versus killing to keep people safe.
I can’t believe General Yoon had Dae Young sent back to Urk, that pisses me off on Myung Joo’s behalf and also because it means less Dae Young or the epic bromance. I love Dae Young but he needs to use his brains and not just his gut in figuring out a way to be with Myung Joo. If it means taking on every crazy dangerous assignment out there to win promotion after promotion to be with her then so be it. Something is better than doing nothing while being shipped off here and there to be kept away from Myung Joo. I adore her sassiness and sensibility, the way she approached Dae Young was brilliant and how they grew closer was adorable. Too bad her daddy keeps cockblocking her without any real good reason. If Dae Young was a loser of a soldier I can understand but he’s shown himself to be a real man’s man in uniform. Sure he’s enlisted rather than an officer like Shi Jin, but this feels like splitting hairs to create the one big obstacle for this couple. It’s nice that Shi Jin is supporting those two as best he can without getting involved, and clearly has zero interest in Myung Joo as she does him. I’m so grateful for no crossed love lines here, all I ask for is more second lead screen time and a faster wake up call for Mo Yeon to really figure out what she wants to do with her career and with Shi Jin. Maybe all she needs is a wake up call kiss.
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