Finally I saw my first Korean drama. I could have done it a lot earlier but I kept putting it off. But when Zindagi started airing Descendants of the Sun (DOTS) I decided to give it a try. I was always curious to know what people liked about Korean dramas because personally I find their actors look like kids & I tend to like older men. They just don’t make me want to drool over them. But keeping my prejudices aside I started watching it on Zindagi. I got so hooked to this show that after the initial few episodes, 1 hour a day was not enough. I needed more of it & I needed the whole thing immediately. Hence off to http://kdramaz.com/ I went to binge watch.
Cast: Song Joong-ki, Song Hye-kyo, Jin Goo, Kim Ji-won
Director: Lee Eung-bok, Baek Sang-hoon
Writers: Kim Eun-sook & Kim Won-seok
Yoo Si-jin, the captain of the alpha team of the S. Korean Special Forces Unit meets Dr. Kang Mo-yeon in a chance encounter when he & his friend Seo Dae-young send a pick pocket to the hospital & who in turn steals Dae-young’s phone. This kick starts the romance of the Captain & the doctor. Seo Dae-young too has an interesting but complicated love story which runs parallel to the love saga of the Captain & the doctor.
What I liked:
I doubt there is anything to not like in this show. It is perfect in every way! And hence deserves detailed discussion. So here goes,
Captain of the Alpha team Yoo Si-jin a.k.a. Big Boss. Si-jin breaks every stereotype of the definition of a hero. For many years now we have mainly had two types of heroes, the silent, brooding, sociopath but rich & intelligent type OR the jovial but loser type. Si-jin picks up the best from both the types & we get our very unique yet realistic man. He is jovial but not in the gay manner portrayed in many shows. He can be tough but he can be equally gentle. This is most evident during the phase when Dr. Kang Mo-yeon broke up with him. He was the perfect gentleman. He took the rejection like a MAN. He kept his hurt to himself & never ever hurt her in return or even to prove a point. He kept his pride intact but never hurt hers. In a world full of assholes & abusive men which are so common on Indian TV or sociopaths which is all American & British TV specialize in nowadays or the total henpecked variety of Turkish TV, Si-jin is a fresh breath of air. Every man should learn how to be a man, alone & with a woman, from Capt. Yoo Si-jin.
Dr. Kang Mo-yeon. In a world of excessive feminism Dr. Kang is feminine, a feminist but not a feminazi. She isn’t shown to be dealing death blows to terrorists in order to display woman power. But she takes a stand for herself & her ideals & even leaves the man she really loves for it. She earned my respect there even though my heart broke for Si-jin. She can be pragmatic enough to give up on her dreams of becoming a professor & turn into a doctor for the VIPs & the TV face of the hospital in order to pay the bills but the doctor in her who vowed service to humanity comes to the fore in the time of crisis.
Sergeant Seo Dae-young a.k.a. Wolf. Like Si-jin once says all the tough decisions fall to this guy. He loves Myeong-ju from the bottom of his heart but he maintains his distance out of respect for her father’s love for her & his unwillingness to accept him as his son -in- law owing to his low rank in the Army. Once again the writers do not disappoint when we finally have Dae-young refusing to quit his job for Myeong-ju. I loved the part where he admits, matter -of- factly that he is a soldier & is great at what he does & he feels it would be wrong to deprive his country of his services. Such a fine way of showing that you can maintain your individuality even when you are in a relationship.
First Lieutenant Yoon Myeong-ju. This was one unique character. She is feisty but her love makes her helpless when facing Dae-young. She knows she is loved by this man & takes all her comfort from this one fact even when he is busy ignoring her. It is his love which makes her fight for him, to be with him. A less determined woman would have moved on in the face of such constant rejection a long time ago. But not her. Myeong-ju & Dae-young are the sort of couple you want to lock up in a room till they solve all their problems & resolve to never separate again.
The country or me? I think this is a question which every soldier must have faced from his better half. This is an often repeated scene in movies where the heroine asks the hero whom would he chose, her or the country. Of all the various replies I have heard, Capt Si-jin’s was the best. There are some things which you cannot put a rank to. More often than not two or more things can be equally important.
Great writing: The show has a lot of firsts. The recorded confession is a hands down favourite of mine! The dialogues are all simple but very effective, be it Mo-yeon’s confession, her rejections, their jealousies, Myeong-ju’s letters, the will. Big Boss & Wolf share a lot of bromance & their banter is fun to watch.
The direction & screenplay. The scene where team Alpha arrives at the earthquake site, descending from the chopper, only their silhouettes visible against the chopper light with the dust flying everywhere & the soldiers assembling in a line to salute their Captain, that scenes manages to make me tear up every single time. Multiple emotions & thoughts race through me every time I see that scene. I feel pride seeing how much the soldiers respect their captain, I feel grateful that the best have come back in this time of need, I chuckle a little when I see Si-jin searching for Mo-yeon (no matter what he said about him doing his duty & that being that to her earlier !) Earlier to this we have Dae-young volunteering to go back to Uruk, this time not being bothered about Myeong ju’s father’s opinions who is also his Commander. Other than this epic scene we have a lot of small scenes which convey a wealth of meaning like the one where Mo-yeon breaks off her heels to work better in the disaster area & is later offered shoes by a site worker, or the one where Dae-young slips & falls in a pit & Myeong-ju’s hands still while she is operating on her patient. You can feel her panic & anguish but she continues working. You share her relief once you see Dae-young is safe & sound. In fact the episodes covering the earthquake, right from when it began with children playing & butterflies flying away, the episodes are a work of genius in terms of direction & screenplay & acting. The entire team deserves every award for those two episodes alone! And while we are talking about tragedy, the writer once again manages to balance it off with healthy doses of comedy. The comedy is always clean, never insensitive.
The songs are lovely. All the songs are great, even the ones I didn’t understand a word of! I have already downloaded the playlist & it has been on a loop ever since.
What I didn’t like:
There is actually nothing to dislike about this show, except…
WHY DIDN’T THE CAPTAIN PROPOSE MO-YEON WHEN THEY RETURNED TO URUK?
I had been waiting for him to propose to her. When he kissed her I was dead sure he would do it now but instead all he did was talk some more. The dialogues like always were meaningful but some scenes demand certain things be done in a certain way 😛
Like who says things like ‘now let us spoil your lisptick’ & then goes on to actually spoil it by writing out a warning sign on a wodden board with it? *Facepalm*
Other than that one disappointment, the show is perfect on every level. It is the sort of thing which will make you laugh & cry, and make you fall in love with all of them each time you watch it.
A 5/5 for the show from my side.
Disclaimer: All pictures taken from Pinterest & belong to the original uploader.