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Monday, March 14, 2016

[mslee's thoughts] Descendants of the Sun First Impression and First Review

First Review
[episodes 1-6]

Descendants of the Sun has given viewers a very impressive cinematography since episode 1. This is what I find very interesting in the drama which brings high quality when it comes to watching a drama in the comfort of my own personal space, be it in a living room or inside my bedroom. It was like a movie unfolding before my eyes. For this one reason, I give full credit to the director and the visual crew for this amazing work done beyond my expectations.

Maybe because it was pre-filmed and the cast and production crew had the liberty of filming at their best without the hassle of hurrying due to time constriction live shooting usually has. The drama was also filmed for the major parts in a foreign land thus the director had the vision of showcasing the best visuals the drama could give which cater to the theme of the story. Every frame I must say even inside the hospital in Seoul where the characters of Song Joong Ki as Captain Yoo Si Jin and Song Hye Kyo as Doctor Kang Mo Yeon met were appetizing to eyes. It captured perfectly the moment when Mo Yeon and Si Jin met eyes and started their petty bickering resulting from that first awareness of attraction between them.

I have posted before in my previous blog of the drama’s 3rd episode’s screen caps that I have yet to fall in love with the storyline of Descendants of the Sun. It is not because the drama is about war [soldiers and patriotism, etc] and dealing with medical issues which is a necessity in every war drama, but as of episode 6, I am still searching the reason why the drama has been successful in terms of high viewer percentage that exceeds even the most successful drama My Love From the Stars. I agree that the chemistry of Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo playing their characters are on spot. Their chemistry together and with the exemplary charisma of Song Joong Ki are reasons enough to draw viewers like me [yeah I am not immune to this] to tune in or watch the drama. Story wise, mianhae, but I have yet to be pulled by the background story surrounding them. Although I must admit that the conflict Mo Yeon and Si Jin have been trying to resolve between them is understandable and a reality that would also happen in real life. The push and pull attraction between them can be the reason why I still stay. I want to see them overcome obstacle in the midst of ongoing conflicts in the drama. I want them to defy time and place in order to find happiness despite their different principles and the constriction of knowing everything about Si Jin’s line of work. 

The story compels me to stay to see how far Si Jin would go to protect this woman against all odds surrounding them and how far Mo Yeon would protect herself from being invisibly pulled towards Si Jin’s love. It is a fact that both have realized and confronted their own feelings whether by themselves or together thru conversations. But other than these reasons, I again come back to analyzing if the storyline is enough to carry the drama to my satisfaction.

Another thing that makes me stay watching the drama is Kim Ji Won and Jin Goo’s bittersweet romance. I think they have a much interesting kind of loveline where they are like Romeo and Juliet in the military. The villain is Myeong Joo’s father, a high military official who is an obstacle in her romantic life with Dae Yeong, a low ranking official and coming not from an influential line of military. It was insinuated that Myeong Joo’s father preferred Si Jin to be her fiancĆ©e, as his father is also in the military. But the odds are not Myeong Joo’s problems. She is willing to go to the ends of the world if only to be together with Dae Young. The sad part, Dae Young is not ready to stand his ground and to fight for her. He knew where her father is coming from. By his lack of things to offer, he broke up with her knowing it is for her own good and happiness. But how can he give her that when he is her sole source of happiness?

Episode 1 is a glimpse of an interesting story to tell between our two couples. It also gives the promise of romance early on in the story. Episode 2 however shows how expectations can hurt Mo Yeon while giving her heart a chance for this stranger she knew only as a soldier. Episode 3 is about fate or destiny. Things get complicated when they thought everything is fine as they try to move on, to forget about meeting each other, but they realized they can’t fight what destiny has in store for them.  Mo Yeon along with some staffs of the hospital were decided to be sent off to where Si Jin and his group are dispatched as peacekeepers. Mo Yeon’s rejection with the advances of the hospital director became reasons why she is now standing on the same ground where Si Jin is. It was a moment of awkwardness. It was a moment where she found herself thinking of him again and what could have been if only they did not part ways in Seoul. Her rejection of him still rings between them. But they tried to be casual, to be civil if that’s the best way to be in each other’s company while in Urk.

Episode 4 started in a tense atmosphere. Si Jin abandoned his officer’s command which is a No in military protocol. Did he do it for Mo Yeon’s safety? An Arab needed to be saved but his guards are threatening them not to put their hands on him. Time is ticking. Mo Yeon is a doctor. A doctor who vowed to save lives in any circumstances even at the risk of their own lives, I presume. The Arab would die either way. But at that time, Si Jin believed Mo Yeon when she said she could save him. The moment was filled with heat as both sides, Arabs and soldiers pointed their guns at each other. This was a good scene but maybe because I am familiar with action scenes, I find it lacking. Perhaps because the writer is a woman, not necessarily saying her imagination is lacking when it comes to action scenes. But seriously, I needed more believable scenario at that exact scene which ultimately passed without a hitch. There was visible tension but apparently, Mo Yeon and her group got away with putting their hands and scalpels on the Arab’s skin and was successful in the end.

Si Jin had to pay the price of being detained in a storage room because of unfollowing an order from his superior. An action he did not regret. He would have done the same thing if it happened again. For a soldier to be in this kind of mindset, in reality it is absurd and unbecoming. Soldiers are taught to be guided by orders, to follow them because everyone besides them depends their lives through following orders. Si Jin is an example of a promising soldier that put a halt on his own qualifications to be promoted.

The villain in the drama [Agus] gives that impending bad premonition that will get Si Jin in trouble in the episodes to come. In episode 5 and 6, Agus used to be a soldier, someone who worked side by side with Si Jin in dangerous places, rescuing abducted persons. It’s going to be tough facing this villain because I think he knows full well how Si Jin works and acts. He was after all a comrade. What made him corrupt and leave the military forces? Of course money is the temptation that is usually hard to resist, but will there be more insights to his character?

Again in episodes 5 and 6, I was entertained by amazing cinematography. The times Si Jin and Mo Yeon were together riding the car or exploring the isolated beach, the background is so beautiful in contrast to what the OTP’s feelings regarding their continuing struggle to set aside their feelings for each other. With Si Jin’s insubordination, he was ordered to return to home base in Korea. He did not even tell Mo Yeon about this. She knew only the morning he was gone. It was as if whatever they have, unresolved, would stay that way.

The first kiss between Mo Yeon and Si Jin in the ending of episode 4 was enough to make viewers to feel excited for the following episode. After a week of waiting, only to be dissatisfied after seeing Mo Yeon not giving in to his second kiss. Ah…and the long wait came to nothing. I thought it would be a start of something new and romantic while in Urk. But Mo Yeon and her feelings are in disarray, because she continues to think, to analyze and weigh the pros and cons of accepting Si Jin even after he asked her if he would say sorry to the kiss or confess his love. As a woman, I understand why she is hesitating. A soldier’s life is as fickle as the burning light of a candle stick. He can be alive now but can be dead by tomorrow. Mo Yeon’s heart is not ready to gamble on that kind of relationship where her heart would be at stake. She is behaving like a coward in front of Si Jin. But who is not if placed in the same situation?

Departing from Urk in episode 6, Si Jin and Dae Young had some really nice bromance. Guess the writer wants viewers to be happy to see Si Jin and Dae Young just having a fun time while away from the complications of their hearts. Who needs a woman when your BFF is fun to be with, right? But it was short lived, that fun part. While going to the airport, Mo Yeon and the first group to go home after successfully finishing their work abroad, an earthquake hit the country leaving workers at the solar energy plant injured and some dead. Mo Yeon decided to go back even receiving the angry rant of the soldier who took them to the airport. But Mo Yeon is foremost a doctor and saving other people is her priority.

Going back, they found the medicube in a mess but so far everything is okay. Myeng Joo was also there, unhurt. They receive calls from the solar plant. They proceeded to the place to start their medical mission. In Korea, Si Jin and Dae Young along with a few soldiers were dispatched to Urk again. The Haesung hospital’s director is talking with the generals at the Blue House asking for the safety of his medical staff. At the solar plant, everything that has been built was in a wreck. There were people trapped inside like the old ajhussi and the one who saw what Manager Jin was hiding. He was in cahoots with the gang, buying and selling diamonds. It was unfortunate [or was it fortunate?] that those diamonds are now buried under the bricks and stones that collapsed.

Once again Si Jin and Mo Yeon meet amidst this chaos. He was looking at her the moment he landed despite the salutes of the soldiers in line greeting him as their superior. She was also looking at his eyes, hope and maybe sighing that she was after all waiting for his return during this kind of crisis. They might have part ways in a not so good atmosphere, with their feelings not yet getting that closure they deserve, but seeing each again is a good enough compensation to make them go through difficult tasks ahead. That scene where Si Jin tied her shoe laces for her was speaking of how much he still cared for her. The reason why he is back in Urk. The reason why he is once again in this dangerous place because she is still here.

For the romantic story of the drama, I can wait for the right time when both Si Jin and Mo Yeon will finally put aside their fears and go for it. But I do hope that I will feel the excitement in the coming episodes to say that this drama is exceptionally good and really deserves the high ratings it is currently enjoying.

Yes, now I know what is lacking for me to fall head over heels in love with the storyline yet. I need more excitement and anticipation to appreciate fully what the drama offers.

screen caps [eps.4-6] updates will be posted soon.


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