Descendants of the Sun (2016)


  • Drama: Descendants of the Sun (태양의 후예)
  • Network: KBS2
  • Episodes: 16
  • Release Date: February 24 – April 14, 2016
  • Runtime: Weds. & Thurs. 22:00


This drama tells the story of soldiers and doctors who volunteer in Uruk and faces various challenges along the way.

Main Cast
Song Hye Kyo – Kang Mo Yeon
Song Joong Ki – Yoo Si Jin
Jin Goo – Seo Dae Young
Kim Jiwon – Yoon Myeong Joo

Yup, i admit, despite this drama being the most talked about drama in 2016, with the SongSong couple married and divorced, it is only this year that I finally decided to watch this show. If it weren’t for the community quarantine, I probably still have not watched this.

I did start the first 2 episodes a few months ago in 2019 but I stopped and didn’t feel the urge to continue. When i tried watching again last week, this time for real, I realized why I stopped watching before and why it took me a bit long to finish this drama. It was because at the start and mostly all throughout the show, I couldn’t feel the chemistry between the two main leads. I’m sorry, probably unpopular opinion, but no matter how much romantic and witty pickup lines Si Yin says to Mo Yeon that is supposed to thrill her and the audience, I just found the lines too cheesy and cringy. Likewise, Mo Yeon/Song Hye Kyo trying to be cute worked super well when she was younger in Full House, but this time, it felt off. I preferred her emotional scenes, I think she was so good at it (the first when she cried because she didn’t get the professorship, then all those time she cried in Uruk, and lastly on episode 15 when Si Jin died), and between the two leads, SHK did it better, although SJK gave it as good as he can. They did deserve the daesang that year. The only time I felt genuine chemistry between them was on the last episode, when the jokes and teasing looked natural and the beach scene felt sweet. On MY and SJ’s relationship, I love that there was no love triangle and miscommunication. Instead, the story focused on their relationship – i could feel Mo Yeon’s struggle – as much as she wanted to love Sijin, it was so difficult when you know that his job is super dangerous and he can be killed anytime, and yet you can’t stop loving and letting go of the person. I loved the growth of the two characters in their chose n profession, as well as the growth in their relationship. MY was finally able to accept it and be the anchor/safe haven for Sijin. Oh, and apart from the cheesy lines, the intrusive and overused background music whenever they got close was too annoying. Gummy’s You are my everything is a beautiful song but now everytime i hear it i feel blech.

As for the secondary couple, i loved Wolf but i didn’t like Myeong Ju. I dont even know what Wolf saw in her. All i saw was a stubborn, prickly brat who is used to getting what she wants and doesn’t care about other’s feelings. For the part of the show, she was selfish, always ordering DY around that I felt bad for him. That scene in one of the episodes when MJ kept saying that DYnever talks to her and DYsays, i have been talking to you by running away or not saying anything — that is already my message to you and you didn’t even picked that up. Likewise, when DY said he wants MJ’s father to respect him for him and not because MY ordered him to and MJ just got angry and sulky, i thought dang dude, get away from that toxic person! But i have to admit, no one will love DY as much as MJ and I’m sure he will always have a partner, but i just hope that MJ eventually tones down and grows up – and learn to listen and support her partner.

The couple that i really adored (sometimes even more than the two main couples) were Doctor Song and Nurse Jea. They are so cute together! Doctor song did everything for the nurse, and i can’t believe Nurse Jea only accepted him at the last episode!! he was sweet and funny and a great doctor! She is so lucky to have him.

I also love the friendship between SJ and DY, and also their entire team! More than being team members, they were brothers and they were willing to die for one another. When SJ and DY died, and the whole squad were together and they reported that they coudn’t fidn their bodies, I can feel their pain and grief – liek they lost their family member and they can’t properly honor and bury them. Likewise when they came back and the stoic Commander hugged them both, and the Lieutenant was equally happy to see them. plus the shouting and happiness of their squad to see their two leaders alive. I also cried when KKB saw DY alive and he cried in front of his team. Poor baby. (Can you really get promoted from Private to Sergeant in just one year?)

Plotwise, the majority of the scenes to place in Uruk (around 10 episodes i think) and I was half-bored, half-i dont care with the story. Sure, there were lots of things that happened in Uruk, but the plot was boring — i didn’t like the whole story about Argus, i thought it went on for too long. Also the timelines in the drama were too weird. So many things happened in Uruk – saving the Arab, earthquake, pandemic, catching Argus – i was wonderng how many months have they stayed in Uruk until MY said on episode 10 that they just volunteered for a month!! Seriously!! Plus, each of the storylines were finished in just 2 episodes and proceeded to start with another tragedy – plus all the times people tried to kill MY and SJ, man, these guys must be invincible because no matter what happens, they still won’t die! and they become healthy the next day like nothing happened!

Couple of plot holes and storyline flaws too. One of the major ones that i didn’t like was Chi Hoon and the noisy earthquake survivor, who had no right to get angry at Chi Hoon for leaving him. I’m surprised no one in the doctor’s team, like doctor song or Mo Yeon was observant and sensitive enough to realize what has happening to Chi Hoon. someone should have also told off the survivor (i was hoping Doctor Song will but he never did) that Chi Hoon did the smart thing by leaving before he become another victim that the soldiers will have to deal with. and i’m disappointed at how the story was resolved — Chi Hoon running to the manager to save him (without wearing any protection) and survivor and Mo Yeon telling Chi Hoon, “he is now a real doctor” and Chi Hoon is happy crying and can now go home to his wife? The heck!! he was a real doctor even before the earthquake. Yes, he lived a privileged life, but he has always been a caring and competent doctor and hedoesn’t need affirmation from an annoying stranger.

Another one is the pandemic plot. So the manager suddenly has a contagious M3 virus, and only infected MJ. How easy to resolve the story when there’s not much danger – all the people, even MY (who also got blood on her face) and Chi Hoon (who was bitten) didn’t get infected. The only almost threat was when the vaccines were stolen, but yet again, Si Jin the superhero was able to save the day.

Back to the Argus story, I couldn’t really feel the betrayal and the animosity between Argus and Sijin because we only saw the same flashbacks over and over again, that they were part of the team and they even had their pictures together, and they were on a mission together. That’s it. There’s no personal betrayal or grudge, so i dont undersand why Sijin is angry at him other than being a traitor to the country, which is a big deal of course, but not enough for me to feel invested with their fight.

I loved the story starting from episode 12 when they came back to Seoul. The main plot about the North korean soldier was soo much better than the whole Argus storyline, mostly because it felt personal and I can feel the struggle and respect for each other. I was moved by the actor that I was hoping he didn’t get killed when he goes back to NK. That’s is how you create a story. I wished there was more of this and less of uruk, then I probably would have enjoyed the whole show.

Episode 15 when Sijin and DY died felt unreal, i did cry a lot too just like MY and MJ even though I know they wont die but kudos to the two female leads on their scenes. When they came back to life at the start of episode 16, I was almost laughing, like i felt like this was such fantasy and i give up, I’ll just watch this without any logic. Again, timelines didn’t fit. MY went to Albania for Sijin’s one year death anniversary, yet it took him one year before he showed up. The story said they were immediately locked undergroudn and beaten etc for a couple of months until the NK soldier came out of nowhere to rescue them. so what? it wasn’t a couple of months but the entire year if they just recently escaped. and why do they look healthy when they have been locked up for so long? they should have smelled bad or had rotting teeth or scars to their handsome flawless faces. The other half of episode 16 was pure fun — i wish the jokes were this funny earlier on. i dont think i ever laughed hard in this drama until that scene where the medical team was videocalling MY and they thought they were seeing SJ’s ghost. Bwahahaha. Another funny scene was when the boys were going crazy for Red Velvet. DY’s dance and SJ’s too happy chanting was so much fun to look at, though the 2 girls’ reactions were stupid. Why get angry at your bf for going crazy over a girl group? it was just fun and they didn’t need to be jealous.

The last scene where they went to Canada for Daniel and Yehwa’s wedding was totally unexpected and unnecessary (we didn’t even get to see the couple actually get married) and Chi hoon suddenly talkign to the audience was too weird. What is this show that I’m watching?? Plus a volcano in Vancouver? haha. I think they are just making fun of themselves now that we’re at the end of the show, but it’s still a wonderful message – that life goes on and there are brave doctors and soldiers out there who risk their lives everyday so that others are healed and saved. Especially at this time of the COVID 19 crisis, I appreciat very much all the hard work and bravery of the frontliners.

Overall, I wasn’t really wow’d by this drama like others seem to be (my friend loved this so much) but I’m glad I took the time to finish this show. SJK and SHK are probably the most beautiful couple that I have ever seen and the scenes were so gorgeous. Too bad, they weren’t able to make it work off camera. I keep thinking maybe this was the story of Mo Yeon and Sijin, in the end, maybe they really couldn’t get past their issues and had to separate. or maybe it’s the other way around, I’ll just remember the SongSong couple as Mo Yeon and Sijin, together for better or worse.

Lastly – i wonder why the name of the drama is called Descended from the Sun? Does anyone know the meaning or symbolism of this?

Rating: 8/10