sunset or sunrise?

Hello there! I’m back with a mid drama review of Descendants of the Sun. I’m halfway through, done with episode 9/16.

It has been a roller coaster ride, I must say! What started out as light and delightful became intense and deep. The first episode was like the honeymoon where everything is whimsical and exciting. The second episode onward is where reality makes its grand appearance. Now, since I mentioned ‘mid drama review’, there WILL be spoilers so you may stop reading at this point. But if you are interested to know what I think, go on!

** Be forewarned that this is going to be a long post. **

In short, our characters are now well-acquainted and faces a dilemma. Main guy, Big Boss is a soldier who cannot divulge much info about his work because of military rules. However, he is very honest about his feelings, convictions and thoughts. He gives her plenty of space (and jokes) too. Main girl, Dr Kang, finds Big Boss very charming and also very dangerous. His job’s nature affects her a lot and she is unable to settle her feelings. Aside from their issues, the secondary couple, Wolf and Army Surgeon is also moving along at a snail rate. We get to learn more about their relationship history. To put it simply, Army Surgeon’s dad is a 3 Star General who has his eyes set on Big Boss as his potential son-in-law and ‘hinted’ to Wolf to back off willingly or he will command that. So Army Surgeon keeps going after Wolf who is running away from her because he feels that he cannot win against a father’s sincere wishes.

Wolf and Army Surgeon VS 3 Star General Dad

I used their nicknames because I find it easier to follow than if I were to use their Korean names. If someone is not familiar with the drama, one might find it hard to trace who is who as they read along.Okay so moving on, we can cheer for joy at episode 9 because Dr Kang finally decides to give the relationship a go! The 3 Star General dad finally gives Wolf permission to date his Army Surgeon daughter, with a condition. Of course, nothing really ends with a happy ever after in reality. Pffft. But, the drama has not ended and so there should be good news later on. It IS a drama after all, right? Enough with these two couples.

The other side characters have interesting developments as well. My favorite would be the friendship between Senior Nurse and Senior Doctor. Their banters always put a smile on my face because they are just so natural and witty! I love how cool and steady Senior Nurse is and even more amazed at how amazing Senior Doctor is when he is being a doctor. Senior Doctor seems to be trolling or pulling people’s legs when he is in normal mode but when there is a medical crisis, you can really count on him. As Senior Nurse says it clearly ( and i paraphrase), he may be useless at times but he is the BEST when he is being a doctor. Oh, I really do wish they would end up together. Such a cute bickering couple!

Senior Doctor and Senior Nurse 😀

Okay, I’ve covered the characters. Now, to the intense and deep part. This drama gives us a slice of life peek into scenarios which we normally would not encounter or consider. We tend to assume everything falls in a linear fashion and only see our own lives in 3D. I, for example, before this drama, thought of soldiers as people who go to war or protect the country from attackers. I think of doctors as people who cures sick people. Simple as that.However, two incidents in this drama gave me something to ponder about. So, a simple background: Dr Kang and her medical team are in the fictional country of Uruk because the hospital they were working for is building an eco power plant there. I have no idea the need to send doctors but we can ignore that. Big Boss, on the other hand, is stationed with his army team in Uruk as part of their break. No idea as well why, but from their(soldier’s) point of view, not having to work on ‘dangerous / critical’ missions counts as a break.

First incident is when a VIP (prominent Arab leader) makes an emergency landing at their Medi Cube ( cute name for their base). Unconscious and in a critical stage, he could die soon if he is not treated. Dr Kang wants to operate on him but the VIP’s bodyguards refused. They wanted to wait until the VIP’s personal doctor arrive. Meanwhile, the Korean heads are telling Big Boss not to get involved. If the VIP dies, the doctor can take the blame. Sensitive diplomacy indeed! So, should she operate on the VIP? If she doesn’t, he will surely die within 20 minutes. If she does, and if the VIP really dies on the operating table, who is to take the blame? Even if she really gets blamed, she is a Korean and the Korean government will be facing hostile enemies from the Arab region. To make matters worse, high profile leaders’ medical histories are hidden / blanked out to protect them and Dr Kang really has to analyze and evaluate the VIP’s medical condition on the fly. I won’t tell you what the decision is but it is an honorable one. =)

Second incident is during the unforeseen 6.7 magnitude earthquake where the eco power plant collapses and many workers are injured and stuck inside. Of course, our heroes, Big Boss and Wolf ( brotherhood ftw! ) work hard to rescue trapped workers and search for as many survivors as possible. The medical team is also kept busy administering first aid and saving as many lives as they can. One particularly heart-wrenching scene is when two trapped workers’ lives intersect. Old man Manager Go is at the bottom, where his body is crushed by a big slab of concrete, which connects to a narrow metal pole which strikes right through a young worker’s lungs. It misses the heart and is very close to the spine. The young worker is still alive and responding but is suffering greatly. Big Boss lets Dr Kang evaluate both of them and then calmly tells her that they can only save one. Any attempt to remove either the concrete slab or the metal pole will affect the other. Faced with this moral dilemma, Dr Kang does not know how to decide. She gives her analysis of their conditions and asks Big Boss to decide on the best decision. He sternly but nicely tells her that there is no best decision, they are only doing their best given the circumstances and she must choose who to save. Implicitly, the one with the highest survival rate. It really pains her, and me too.

Some muses from the drama:
1. We are never really satisfied. In the beginning, Army Surgeon was depressed because Wolf does not anwer her calls and runs away from her. Then, when Wolf finally answers her calls, gives her a one sided arm hug and some responses, Army Surgeon gets mad because he would not hold her hand properly or something. Aigoo….

2. We are only honest when we are near the end of our lives. Or at least, when we have a close brush with death. Dr Kang will only admit her feelings out loud when she thought she was going to die. But then again, maybe it is only during those near death experiences which gives you mental and emotional clarity. It could be too late, sometimes. Hmm…

3. I’m digging the friendship between Big Boss and Wolf. They are such close friends and good buddies. Their interactions and chemistry are so …desirable. It would be wonderful to have such a friendship. But then again, they are men. I don’t think it would apply well to women. Their friendship style, I mean……

i think our lives will be more fun and bearable if we have friendships like them.

With this, ends the review session of the first half of the drama. It is definitely a breath of fresh air from the usual love stories and conflicts that we generally see from dramas. As usual, I can’t help but to read the episode by episode recap with screenshots from Dramabeans after I’m done. They write really well and point out a lot of things which I’ve missed. Look for Descended From the Sun (KBS, 2016) and you will see 16 links to each of the episodes. I would very much love to continue watching, but I will be rational and go to sleep. I have work and I am glad I don’t have to make such difficult decisions in my job.

Thanks for reading!  =)

p/s: One important point I gain from Dramabean’s recap: Dr Kang is unsure because a soldier’s job puts their lives in danger and so it means Big Boss might die early. However, we don’t really know what is going to happen next. Just because your job seems safer does not mean you will die at a ripe old age, you see. What’s important is that if you found someone who you love and who loves you back, you should not delay. Every moment together is a blessing.

Big Boss tying boot laces for Dr Kang. Cue for “i care for you and please take care”.

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