Descendants of the Sun tells the story of a special forces captain (Song Joong Ki) and a doctor (Song Hye Kyo) who fall in love while providing aid in a country dealing with a natural disaster and civil strife.
Descendants of the Sun was a highly anticipated drama for 2016. We have a star couple in Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo. And everyone was eagerly awaiting the drama since it was Song Joong Ki’s come back project after being discharged from the military. The drama boasted an enormous budget, gorgeous cinematography, and high quality special effects.
And Descendants of the Sun burst onto the scene and took the drama world by storm. With amazing ratings and global popularity, the drama lived up to the anticipation and definitely left it’s mark.
While it’s not the best drama I’ve ever seen, it really is an awesome drama. I really enjoyed that much of it was set in the fictional country of Urk. Our soldiers and doctors come together to provide aid while coping with danger and navigating their way through relationships.
Song Joong Ki brings to life the character of Yoo Shi Jin. With smoldering looks, a charming personality, and unwavering bravery, our hero was easy to like. He has a boyish charm yet still pulls off being a more manly soldier. I mean, how you can say no to this face?
Song Hye Kyo makes up the other half of our star couple playing Dr. Kang Mo Yeon. She’s beautiful, independent, and speaks her mind. Her world becomes a lot more complicated when she is inexplicably drawn to Shi Jin. She tries to pull away from him because of his dangerous job, but finds herself unable to fight the attraction.
Something pretty unique about our main couple of Shi Jin and Mo Yeon is that they are very no-nonsense and to the point. They are very direct with what they are feeling and what they want. My only complaint is that sometimes they came off as a bit robotic because of just how straight-forward they were. But aside from that, I thought their chemistry was fantastic, and I was always glued to the screen during their encounters.
Jin Goo completely fit the part of Shi Jin’s closest friend and solider Seo Dae Young. He’s just as brave and self-sacrificing. His personality was a bit stiff and closed off for my tastes. It prevented me from really connecting with him. But I enjoyed those moments where he let his walls down, and we get to see his lighter side.
Kim Ji Won plays army surgeon Yoon Myung Joo. She has a bit of a rocky relationship with Mo Yeon, but I enjoyed the progression of the girl’s relationship. Myung Joo is a tough girl who faces her share of danger. She also knows what she wants and won’t give up on the man she loves.
Dae Young and Myung Joo make up our second couple. They have their own obstacles to overcome. Myung Joo’s father disapproves of the relationship, and they have spent a lot of time apart. But they are able to reconnect in Urk and their relationship blossoms again. It’s not an easy relationship, but there is never any question that these two really love each other.
Of course, we also get the bromance between Shi Jin and Dae Young. These guys have been through thick and thin together, and they would do anything for the other one. I really enjoyed the comraderie between these two.
A particularly popular supporting character was that of Kim Gi Bum played by Kim Min Suk. Early in the drama, he is taken under the wing of Dae Young and given the opportunity of a better life. It was nice to see his development as well as his relationship with Dae Young.
One of the story arcs I really enjoyed involved Onew in the role of Dr. Lee Chi Hoon. He’s a carefree type who is in for a harsh dose of reality in Urk. He goes through a lot when faced with the inability to save patients. But when faced with his own fears and humanity, he questions his role as a doctor. I found his story extremely moving.
The main villain in the drama is David Agus (David McInnis). Once a friend and comrade of Shi Jin, they end up pitted directly against each other. Overall, there is a lot of English used in the drama, and a good chunk of it comes from this guy. While I thought his acting was decent, and he had plenty of fun bad-guy cockiness, most of his lines were so cheesy! Of course, the use of English in Korean dramas is frequently on the cheesy side. I got so many laughs out this character, especially when it was supposed to be very serious. But even so, I really enjoyed the character overall.
There is plenty of action in Descendants of the Sun. I liked the war and relief elements which added a layer of intensity not always seen in dramas. One disaster after another befalls our heroes. It give lots of opportunities for them to draw closer together while keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.
ENDING SPOILERS BELOW
I felt the drama did a lose a bit of steam in those last few episodes when everyone returns to Korea. But there were still plenty of troubles awaiting them and challenges to be faced, so I still found it interesting.
As for the ending, I loved it. Everything is tied up in a nice bow with happy endings for Shi Jin and Mo Yeon as well as Dae Young and Myung Joo. All supporting characters ended in a good place too.
And I absolutely loved the last scene where all of the soldiers and doctors attend a wedding in Canada. Chi Hoon interrupts the scene to address the audience asking if we all enjoyed the happy ending where love triumphed. Then the lights go out, and everyone wonders what is going on. We then learn a volcano has erupted! Everyone immediately prepares for action as our team has another mission and more lives to save.
The drama never took itself too seriously, so I really enjoyed the bit of fun at the end. Most importantly, we did get a happy ending. And even with the volcano eruption, it felt like our team of doctors and soldiers were right where they needed to be, together and ready to help. It was all very fitting.
Descendants of the Sun was a nice change of pace due to the setting, army elements, and the wide range of difficulties our characters face. It had plenty of action, melodrama, and a nice dose of humor on the side. I really enjoyed Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo as a couple and getting to experience their trial-filled love story was wonderful. Descendants of the Sun is a drama that will likely be remembered by many for a long time to come.
My Rating: 8/10
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