descendants of the sun

It’s been a long week.

After I completed Descendants of the Sun, I listened to the soundtracks and actually wrote a post and saved it in a draft. At least I thought I did. Sadly, when I came back to continue, the draft was missing. I felt annoyed and didn’t come back till today.

Still, I enjoyed the drama very much! It was a breath of fresh air from the usual Korean dramas. It made me think quite a bit,  reflect a little and laugh a LOT. I don’t know if I am inexperienced but there is a lot of creativity in the jokes and romance section.

Especially the famous “I don’t know if I should confess or apologize”, the copy-what-the-other-say-or-did and the “ghost-eating” scene. Even the “Music really changes everything” public confession scene had me grinning like a mad woman. =p

I enjoyed how the drama is deprived of common life dramas. Maybe because the premise is somewhat different, seeing as the main characters are soldiers and doctors, it became more philosophical. Each has their own core values regarding their profession and their own moral integrity. That’s where the conflict lies and it is wonderful to watch their willingness to evaluate, adapt and sometimes bend over in order to do what is right and honorable.

The acting was excellent and the chemistry among the characters delightful. Here’s a list of some of my favorites:

1. Big Boss aka Captain Yoo Shi Jin and Wolf aka Deputy Leader Sergeant Major Dae Seo Young
Their friendship is enviable and desirable. Mutual respect, loyalty and tender loving care for one another. Life is never dull whenever they are together. One of my favorite moments are when they are on a ‘double date’ with their plush toys. XD
I found this article which compiles most of their funny antics!
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2. Doctor Song Sang Hyun and Nurse Ha Ja Ae
I always knew something was up between the two. Although they constantly bicker, it was really because they are very close. They simply light up the screen whenever they are around. Goofy and endearing. My favorite moment has gotta be when he joined the soldiers’ morning jog. Ja Ae’s stunned expression is worth every sweat drop! =p
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3. Big Boss and Dr Kang
Since they are the main hero and heroines, they definitely have the best spark, right from the first episode. I love how they both grow and gravitate towards one another. Their relationship best exemplifies the phrase “Imitation is the best form of flattery”. One of my favorite moment is when her dying confession is broadcasted to the entire world. The horrified look on her face and the amused look on his face is worth rewatching over and over again! Also, the ghost scene was clever and wonderfully executed with perfect timing. Best of all, I like how they have sincere and honest discussions with one another. Not to mention, lots of compliments and flattery as well that can give you diabetes! ^^
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Aside from that, part of the drama feels a bit like a documentary too. The destruction and tension during a natural disaster, the challenging search and rescue efforts by volunteers, the diseases that followed after and the post traumatic stress disorder effects are covered pretty well. There are a few heart wrenching moments which made me feel really grateful for what I have. The scene where they all ducked and hid under the table upon the slightest tremor felt was a really good portrayal of how the earthquake affected them.

Last but not least, excellent soundtracks. I got myself acquainted with most of them, with my favorite being Once Again by Mad Clown and Kim Na Young. I really enjoyed listening to Kim’s voice and Mad Clown’s rap. So much pining, longing and regret. Maybe it reflects how I feel about some things, I suppose. Balancing up the emotional feelings is Talk Love by K. Will, a delightful song with memorable whistling which will surely lift anyone up. I found this great article which did a fantastic job in listing and describing each soundtrack. And I also found this youtube playlist of the soundtracks with lyrics in both Korean and English. Internet is really amazing!

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.

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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!

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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……

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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.

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

thoughts on descendants of the sun pilot episode

It’s been almost a week (or a week)! I’ve fully recovered from the neck and arm aches caused by the Bubble Sport. Had a long nap this afternoon and am feeling refreshed. Especially after watching the pilot episode of Descendants of the Sun. =p

The last time I watched a Korean drama was in 2012 so it’s been a while. After observing all the hype surrounding the drama and being surprised at the people who watched it (obviously these are the people who I never expect will watch), my interest grew.

AND I MUST SAY, IT HAS BEEN A HIGHLY AMUSING AND APPEALING PILOT EPISODE!!!

I never expected this from a Korean drama. The plot wasted no time in letting the main characters meet and interact. The chemistry was right there! From the way their eyes looked at each other, to the obviously NOT-VERY-SUBTLE flirtatious lines, I spent most of the time either chuckling or grinning myself silly. It was all very smooth and charming, and not too cheesy. Maybe some would think it is too fast or too easy but hey, if both parties have excellent chemistry and the desire to see each other again, what can stop them, right?

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*** WARNING!! SPOILERS AHEAD BUT IT WON’T SPOIL TOO MUCH I PROMISE! ***

Their commitment to their responsibilities. Unlike the usual drama plots where the main leads took episodes to finally go on a date, everything unfolds in the first episode itself!

They already know they like each other. They even set up ‘dates’ to see each other again. Granted, it is an appointment to sanitize a wound but still, that counts as a date! In the calendar, of course. XD But, because she has an emergency operation, she missed the appointment. And the next date fails because he had to go on duty.

Suddenly, this drama feels like it is taking on a more heavy sub-context. Behind the main leads’ beauty and suaveness, it indirectly ‘educates’ the audiences that there are other things more important than your crush. Your duty comes first. Well, in their case, it is a matter of life and death AND national security so they obviously can’t say “Sorry, I need to go on a date”.

Moral matters aside, let’s discuss about their dialogue. It really amazes me how they can maintain their cool and speak so casually when they should clearly be having butterflies in their stomach! I mean, come on, you are on the phone with someone you like and “who seems to like you too” and you don’t fluster? No ummms and aahs, just pauses. Long pauses. I love the way he teases her – where his sentences can be interpreted in two ways and she of course, assumes the romantic notion. He would then pretend to refer to the ‘other’ notion and she, although caught off guard, knows how to cover, too. Their encounters and words sparring delight me to no ends.

Oh, and that famous scene where he flicks the phone off her as she was speaking and gracefully catches it when it falls? I still think it is rather rude but it is a drama after all. The main lead always gets away with it and still gets the girl. Typical!  They should put a subtitle subtext which says “Please do not try this at home or anywhere UNLESS someone steals your phone”.

With that, I can’t wait to watch episode 2. Did I mention that I love their chemistry? Yes, I did and I will say it again. Their chemistry is DEFINITELY ONE of the many reasons why I will continue to watch and if you haven’t, you should, too. *winkwink*