My rating: 4,5/5
- Genre: Romance, melodrama, comedy
- Episodes: 16 + 3 Special Episodes
- Year: 2016
- Song Joong Ki as Captain Yoo Shi Jin of the Alpha Team
- Song Hye Kyo as Professor Kang Mo Yun
- Jin Goo as Chief Master Sergeant Seo Dae Young
- Kim Ji Won as Lieutenant Yoon Myung Joo (Orthopedic Surgeon)
- Kang Shin Il as Lieutenant General Yoon (Myung Joo’s father)
This one left me with mixed feelings. I must confess i had very high expectations, but they weren’t totally met. I was eagerly expecting Song Joon Ki’s new drama, since i liked him in Innocent guy, and the trailers were promising too, as well as the entire cast, settings and everything. This drama’s rising popularity and ratings got it on top where it becomes dangerous to critique it, but i will take the risk.
So, firstly, what I didn’t like was the slow pace of the drama. They wouldn’t bore you to death, but still, wouldn’t kill you with tension. It was just so-so. I was expecting with every episode to start the so announced breathtaking action and the story development and so I waited, and waited, and waited…till episode 8, I think. Then it started to get better for an episode or two, even three, and I could feel the tension and the need to see more and more and then…it stopped again! It was going slowly again! I couldn’t believe it! For an army related drama, this was too slow and quite predictable. I was almost praying for it to get better since I’ve been expecting this drama for so long and because of Song Joon Ki. I was also trying not to get discouraged and abandon it. I was determined to see it through.
So, what’s the plot that gave me such pain and headache about? Well, we’ve got beautiful and sassy doctor Kang Mo Yun and Captain Yoo Shi Jin that accidentally meet and fall in love, but their professions make it difficult for them to be together, since one saves people and one kills people. Moreover, all the secrets Captain Yoo is surrounded by and his missions add to doctor Kang’s discontent, along with the fact that they can never have a proper date, since he’s always summoned for a mission when they are on a date, leaving her all vexed and dumbfounded. This is why she decides to put an end to their already short romantic relationship, leaving him quite hurt. But unexpectedly, doctor Kang and a medical team from her hospital are sent to volunteer in the war torn country of Uruk, where she meets once again Captain Yoo Shi Jin and his soldiers. This is where the drama starts to get a bit more tense among all the hardship they have to endure from constant war threats to natural disasters, corruption, criminality and so on.
The struggle they go through every day makes it possible for the two main characters to get closer to each other and to start anew a romantic relationship. There are also other couples that have their own struggles with love and try to get together, so it’s not only a Kang Mo Yun- Yoo Shi Jin love story dominated drama.
I didn’t like the way Kang Mo Yun rejected Shi Jin. I mean, it’s okay to play hard to get, especially when you meet someone as self-confident and blunt as Shi Jin who gives the player vibe, but when she saw he was true about her, she just talked about how their professions are different and how she saves people and he kills them. He must have been really hurt, because he’s not a gangster to hurt people, but a soldier who protects people risking his own life, which i find very courageous and difficult. Not anyone can be in the army and serve the people 24/7, being present at every disaster or conflict, having to live sometimes very far away from his/her own family or even his/her country in some harsh conditions. I didn’t like the way people looked down on soldiers. In my country it is a very respected profession and people look up to them because we owe the army big time. Actually, the army is the most trusted institution here.
I also didn’t like how sometimes she was excessively arrogant and self-confident, to the point of annoyance and getting herself in trouble (but i might not be the one to talk about it…); anyway, she was too arrogant and self-confident even when it wasn’t the case (in my opinion).
I believe she should have rejected Shi Jin in a more mature and rational way than by simply telling him how good she is as a doctor because she saves lives, and how bad he is as a soldier for killing people. I suppose the main reason for her dissatisfaction was the fact that he was quite secretive and unpredictable, so she couldn’t handle this type of person and relationship. Also, the danger his job brings along and the fear of losing him might have been another reason to reject him. So, she could have said something like “You’re a really nice guy, but i feel overwhelmed by your job and your lifestyle and i don’t think i can handle being in a relationship with a soldier, i’m sorry.”
I liked Joon Ki’s character, especially Yoo Shi Jin’s wit, and charming and easy-going nature, also Kang Mo Yun’s sass, but I really disliked the fact that they were always flattering each other, I mean, always. They were telling each other how cool and beautiful they are several times in every single episode, it was too much. I know they had a very good looking cast, but we don’t have to be reminded every 5 minutes.
I don’t know if others share my opinion, but I think one could see the age gap between Song Hye Kyo (an actress that I really like) and Song Joon Ki, she really looked older than him and that was quite a turn off.
From episode 13 I believe, the action started again, it was pretty intense, but the drama was getting close to its end so I had the feeling they rushed things and instead of having the action divided on every episode, they put it mostly at the end.
Descendants of the sun was very focused on visuals and outer appearance in general, from the cast, to the settings and everything else. This was one of their strengths and maybe a factor that boosted their popularity.
In the end, I want to talk about Shinee’s Onew who took his first role in a drama (not cameo) and did pretty well actually. I must admit his character was resembling him a bit too much so it must have been easier for him to play it, but he had some sad scenes too, and you could feel his pain and sadness (although it was a tad weird to see him so serious and crying).
All in all, this drama left me with mixed feelings as I said before, it wasn’t one of the best dramas I’ve seen, despite its popularity, but it wasn’t the worst either and I watched it till the end, which is good.
My personal ratings:
- Cast: 5/5
- Characters: 4,5/5
- Love story: 4/5
- Atmosphere: 4/5
- Plot: 4,5/5
- OST: 4,5/5
- Drama overall: 4,5/5
Descendants of the sun trailer
- Descendants of the sun trailer (with main leads’ greetings)
- Descendants of the sun trailer (eng sub)
Notes: Descendants of the Sun is a pre-produced drama.
Descendants of the sun OST