Okay everyone, here’s a post I purposely postponed because I knew if I revealed my opinion at the height of this drama’s popularity I’d be publicly hanged. Now that it’s been quite a while since the drama’s finish, I don’t feel too bad about revealing my disappointment in this highly anticipated, but incredibly overhyped mess. If you want to know why I dropped Descendants of the Sun…keep reading. If you loved this drama, my apologies, but I suggest exiting this page ASAP.
I am very well aware that my opinion on this drama is very much so the unpopular one. Everyone seemed to love this drama, which made me really want to love it too. As an avid fan of Song Joongki, everything was lining up for me to enjoy this drama, but unfortunately with each passing episode, I grew to dislike it more and more. When I started to realize it wasn’t working for me, I felt out of the loop, and wondered what I was missing. But as it turns out, I wasn’t missing anything. It was the drama that was missing something, and that something was an engaging and thoughtful plot to say the least. This is probably one of the worst dramas I’ve ever watched. Yes. I said it. I know that people are going to be angry with me for saying so, but it really was a mess and in more ways than one. I don’t even know where to begin, but I guess I’ll start with some positive notes.
Strong Male Leads: The acting by our two main males was the best it could be for what they were given. Song Joongki is always impressive, no matter what role he’s given so I wasn’t too worried about him pulling off the role. Despite the shallowness of the romance plot and Hye Kyo’s ho-hum performance, I thought he was able to create fantastic chemistry in instances where the writing made it quite a difficult feat. Jin Goo really impressed me. I’d never even heard of him, which I think is true for most of us, until I began watching this drama. If anything, he might be the only reason I am thankful to have watched part of this drama. He was an excellent second lead and as I’ll mention below, was probably one of the few saving graces of the story.
Engaging Secondary Characters: Aside from Joongki, the only aspect of this drama I liked was the plot line involving the secondary characters. Unlike our main characters, there was actually genuine emotion, pain, and weight to Dae Young (Jin Goo) and Myung Joo‘s (Kim Ji Won) story. I think their chemistry was way better, but that could also be because their characters were more alluring. In any case, they were really the only authentic component of this horribly shallow drama. You could actually empathize with their burdens and suffering, and I was definitely rooting for them wayyyy more than I was for our lead couple. In fact, I didn’t want Shi Jin ending up with Mo Yeon at all. He seemed way too good for her. Quick shout out to Kim Ji Won for her wonderful performance as Myung Joo. She did a convincing job of relaying emotion which is super important and unfortunately a struggle for a lot of actors.
Now lets talk about the flaws that moved this drama into train wreck territory for me.
Unrealistic Medical Scenes: I cannot even begin to tell you how irked I was by the several atrociously illogical medical scenes that popped up in this drama. Maybe this is simply due to my former nursing school education, but you must be kidding yourself if you actually bought into those emergency scenes. Even the average person could notice several blunders in the nonsensical instances they tried to pass off as possible. There were things they tried to pull off that could never ever in any way, shape, or form be done in the real world. Now, I am quite aware that this is dramaland and that things can be exaggerated and faked because they are fiction, but the whole premise of this drama was to show a realistic relationship in a war backdrop by presenting the struggles of a doctor and a soldier to make peace with each other while carrying out their strenuous jobs. If this was a fantasy sageuk, a mythical fairyland, a lighthearted comedy, etc I wouldn’t be as critical, but the fact is that this drama was aiming and claiming to be realistic, and so these scenes are honestly ridiculous and take away from the believability of the story or moment.
The Unending Cycle of Repetition: Thankfully I’m not the only person who had this next issue with the drama. I chatted with a few friends after I finally tuned out of this dog and pony show and they all shared my sentiments regarding the monotonous repetition that plagued this series. If I could sum up the events in each episode for you, or just the drama in general, I could do it in a few sentences. Basically, every episode consisted of Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo) arguing with Shi Jin (Song Joongki) because she basically doesn’t have respect for his career as a soldier. Shi Jin would then try and explain things from his point of view, she would say sorry, they would have a few romantic blips, then some sort of outer conflict related to the war zone plot would take place to add some angst and action in there, and by the end of the episode, they’d be arguing again. The show follows this cycle for the entire six episodes that I watched. Literally. And I’m 99.999999% sure that it probably continues this way until maybe the 15th or 16th episode where I’m sure they had to wrap things up and give them a happy ending. Quite frankly I don’t have the time or interest to watch six to eight plus episodes of the same exact situation a thousand times over again, and so that was enough tedious boredom for me to call it quits. Who the hell wants to watch people argue when the whole basis of the argument is caused by one person’s ignorance and failure to put aside their ego and judgement. Apparently Korea does…
Song Hye Kyo and Kang Mo Yeon: I honestly haven’t hated a heroine this much in a while. Mo Yeon came across as absolutely obnoxious and uncompromising to me. She’s a doctor and you know what that means “I save lives…I don’t take them… blah blah blah… how can you determine who should die and who shouldn’t …etc. etc.” This haughty attitude of hers leaves her with conflicted feelings. She has the hots for Shi Jin, but isn’t ready to accept his values and set of beliefs as a soldier. Basically she has an issue with and misunderstanding about the ideology of patriotism and doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of what it means to be a soldier. She’s stuck on the whole ‘killing people’ part, and I guess isn’t smart enough to look past the fact that these soldiers are also saving lives, just in a different way. What makes this super frustrating is that Shi Jin is super understanding and forgiving and patient and is constantly explaining his perspective to her yet she still doesn’t seem to be comprehending it. Which, by the way, flies in the face of her being a doctor…because seriously!? If you’re intelligent enough to become a highly respected doctor how can you be stupid enough to misunderstand such a simple and logical explanation from Shi Jin.
I think this might have set me up to dislike Song Hye Kyo. This was my first time seeing her act, and I’m not sure whether I just hated the character, her acting, or both. Every time she appeared on screen I was annoyed, frustrated, and cursing at what I thought was the most uninspiring and unlikable female lead I’ve come across in a long time. She honestly seemed arrogant, yet whiny at the same time. She expected Shi Jin to be nice to her even when she was being a complete asshole to him which really made my blood boil. Even if it was the fault of a poor character, I still wasn’t impressed with Hye Kyo’s acting. It wasn’t anything to write home about and I wouldn’t care if I never saw her in another drama in the future.
Sloppy Writing: My final issue is the overall sloppiness and half-assed writing that made this drama practically unbearable. Everything from start to finish in the first six episodes was a mess. We have poorly executed medical scenes, confusing and unrealistic war confrontations/conflicts, a terribly written female lead, and a lifeless plot that pretends to be greater than it is, but in reality, has no substance whatsoever. I literally didn’t find anything believable. The war backdrop/setting tried to accomplish more than it was capable of doing. I never found it gripping or compelling because they only used it the way you’d use an accessory. When they needed a form of conflict to break up or complicate the romance or make the plot seem more compelling and complex, they brought us back into the war zone. Conversely, when they were trying to focus on the romance and patch things up for the time being they tossed away this very same war plot and saved it like Chinese left overs until they needed it again.
Although I clearly disliked this drama, it may not be the same case for you. Just because it’s not my cup of tea doesn’t mean it can’t be yours! If you’re not looking for a story with substance, or a logical plot than you just may find this drama acceptable. The same goes for those who are looking for romance and conflict without devastating consequences. If I recall correctly, the drama has a pretty happy ending, so if that’s your thing you might want to check this one out. If you are a Song Joongki fanatic, you also might find it worth the watch for him alone. Unfortunately, I could not bring myself to sit through another ten episodes, even for Song Joongki. I’m a person that enjoys a complex and meaningful plot with well developed characters and a solid storyline. This drama had none of that, which is why I couldn’t continue.
Have you watched Descendants of the Sun? What did you think of it? Even if you disagree with me, I’d love to hear your take on things.