It’s difficult enough to settle into a strange new place without confusing feelings getting into the mix, and Mo-yeon especially struggles to come to terms with all of the changes in her life. Shi-jin would love nothing more than to help her with that, but he finds himself facing unexpected challenges which could threaten his commitment to his career. They both have a lot to worry about, not least of which is their growing attraction, and what to do about it.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Shi-jin watches Mo-yeon drinking the cooking wine, and she misinterprets his stare and offers him a drink. “I can find a way to drink,” he says in a low voice, and quickly closes the distance between them. He kisses her, long and slow, and Mo-yeon’s eyes flutter closed.
Shi-jin backs up, looking a little flustered himself. He leans in to kiss her again, but this time Mo-yeon turns her head away. He steps back and Mo-yeon mutters a quick goodnight, and retreats to her tent, taking the wine bottle with her.
The UN nurse, Ye-hwa, wakes that night to find her husband Daniel, back from some mysterious errand in Libya. She asks about their friend, Chen Gang, but Daniel just says vaguely, “Chen Gang has gone back to the place he came from.”
Haesung Group (owner of the hospital where Mo-yeon and her team work) nears completion of their solar energy power plant, and the medical team are introduced to JIN YOUNG-SOO (Jo Jae-yoon), Chief Manager of the power plant. He’s amusingly quirky, and makes it clear that he’s the head man in charge here.
Chi-hoon calls Mo-yeon with the news that the little boy with lead poisoning has left the hospital. He did leave behind a drawing which sort of looks like a map, which Chi-hoon assumes means he went home. Mo-yeon overreacts when it’s suggested they ask Shi-jin for help finding the boy.
But Shi-jin is here already, and of course that kiss is all Mo-yeon can think about. Heh, she can barely look Shi-jin in the face, but she’s worried enough about the boy to ask Shi-jin to take her to the village to check on him.
She has to remind Shi-jin to watch the road as they drive — he’s not even hiding the fact that he can’t stop staring at her. He tries to talk about the kiss, but Mo-yeon honestly admits that she’s purposely not talking about it, because she’s confused.
Shi-jin says that he doesn’t mind if she’s confused or angry at him, but asks her not to feel bad about it. He admits that he’s wanted to kiss her many times before, and that admission makes Mo-yeon finally look at him.
They find the boy on the road to the village, and Mo-yeon takes some medicine for him to his mother. Mo-yeon recognizes the other kids who were playing with the scrap metal, and when Shi-jin compliments her memory, she tells him that she never forgets anything… “So don’t do or say anything too impressive.”
Shi-jin’s commander, Lieutenant Kwak, welcomes Myung-joo to the base and immediately starts kissing up to her, exaggerating how close he is with her father. She rushes off when she receives a “very important call,” which is actually just a spy of hers reporting on Dae-young’s activities back home.
They’re busted when Dae-young overhears the man, and Myung-joo smiles just to hear Dae-young’s voice. The poor soldier shakes as he explains to the fuming Dae-young that he had to obey her orders, as she’s the higher-ranking officer over Dae-young.
Shi-jin and Mo-yeon stop at the bar to eat, and the scantily-clad waitress flirts shamelessly while Shi-jin valiantly avoids looking at the cleavage right in his face. HAHA, his relieved slump when she finally leaves is hilarious.
Mo-yeon lets him off the hook, and asks why he became a soldier. He answers vaguely that someone has to do it, and notes that she doesn’t seem to like his job, figuring that that’s why she’s confused about his kissing her. She says that she thinks that he’s just so patriotic that he’s willing to risk his life for his country.
Shi-jin asks what she means by patriotic, and Mo-yeon clarifies: he loves his country, so he’s loyal to it and its people. He points out that you don’t have to be a soldier for that, and tells her his idea of patriotism:
“The faith that I have to protect children, beauties, and the elderly. And the courage to meddle in when I see high schoolers smoking cigarettes. The belief that I wouldn’t change even in front of a gun. The honor of a soldier you save that way. That’s patriotism in my mind.”
Shi-jin has a question for Mo-yeon in return: What if he weren’t a soldier, but an ordinary man from a rich family? Mo-yeon says that sounds too ordinary for her, and Shi-jin quips that he should have said a handsome man from a rich family. Always the jokester, this guy.
Later Shi-jin recognizes a man on the street as the smuggler that he (thought he) turned over to the police. The guy sees Shi-jin and just salutes him with his beer, smiling smugly. When Mo-yeon catches up Shi-jin plays it cool and tells her to go on ahead to Ye-hwa’s hardware store and borrow a car to get back to base, making the excuse that he needs to go make a report to Corps Command.
Once Mo-yeon is safely away, Shi-jin walks right up to the smuggler with his gun drawn, and when he’s accused of threatening an unarmed civilian, he shoots out a car tire. The smuggler and his friend both pull their own guns at that, proving that they’re neither civilians nor unarmed.
Unfortunately they’re joined by several more armed smugglers, and Shi-jin is woefully outnumbered. He’s further shocked when his old friend Argus shows up (the man who he used to serve with on special assignments), clearly in charge of the smugglers, and casually says hello like they’re not all aiming loaded weapons at each other.
Mo-yeon runs into Daniel at the hardware store, who is also a doctor and part-time mechanic, and they hear the gunshot when Shi-jin shoots the tire. Daniel makes a call and tells Mo-yeon that it’s just a local gang causing trouble, but that nobody was hurt.
When asked, Daniel says that he knows Shi-jin, but mostly from funerals. Mo-yeon figures she might be able to get some information, and asks Daniel if he knows what Shi-jin does, exactly. Daniel goes scarily still at that.
We see a flash of a memory: Shi-jin in chains, repeating only his name, rank, and serial number as he’s tortured and beaten. He’s eventually rescued (the commander of the rescue team is a cameo by Lee Jong-hyuk), but he refuses to leave until the other prisoner, Argus, is also freed. Just as they get safely to the helicopter, a sniper shot rings out, and the commander collapses into Shi-jin’s arms.
Out in the street, Argus breezily tells the stunned Shi-jin that he changed jobs. He basically does the same thing, he just makes more money now. He warns Shi-jin to mind his own business, saying that he’s always been too empathetic. Angry now, Shi-jin spits that Argus is right, and he should have left a dying man to die. He issues his own warning — stay away from him, or pay.
We don’t hear Daniel’s answer to Mo-yeon’s question, but whatever it is, it seems to have shaken her. He asks if she plans to use the knowledge to stay, or to leave… but again, we don’t hear the answer.
She borrows a car and drives alone back to the base, but she’s so distracted that she nearly hits an oncoming truck, and the dust kicked up causes her to swerve off the road. She careens down a hill and the car barely stops just before it goes off a cliff, with the front wheels dangling precariously over the ocean below.
Her phone accidentally dials Shi-jin during the accident, and when he answers, Mo-yeon screams for help. He tells her that he’s on his way, and speeds in her direction. Panicking and scared for her life, Mo-yeon records a message to her mother on her phone.
Just as the car begins to roll further off the cliff, the back hatch opens and Shi-jin jumps in. He joins her in the front seat, telling her to open the windows and leaning her seat back. He quickly says that he’s going to let the car drop, and when she freaks out that they’ll die, he tells her to look into his eyes. He tells her to trust him, and to close her eyes. Ha, I sort of love how Mo-yeon refuses to obey — she’s so spunky.
Before she can even think about what’s happening, Shi-jin hits the wheel hard enough to set off the airbag, releases the brakes, and the car — with them inside — plummets into thin air.
As soon as it hits the water Shi-jin pulls himself and Mo-yeon out the open windows, and gets her safely onto dry land. He administers CPR until Mo-yeon responds, and the moment she can breathe she calls him a lunatic and smacks him. It’s so cute how Shi-jin just grins and lets her rant at him… he even jokes that he can’t leave her alone for a second.
He gives Mo-yeon his uniform shirt when they get back to base, only now telling her that her wet shirt is transparent. She gapes at him when he says that he saw everything, and he walks away grinning, shooting her a wave over his shoulder.
Argus has gotten ahold of a couple of men from the power plant, including Chief Manager Young-soo. He demands to know where their boss is, and shoots the other man dead where he stands. He tells Young-soo that their deal, whatever it is, hasn’t changed, but Young-soo doesn’t care as long as he gets paid as agreed.
He hands over a small packet of diamonds, which pleases Argus — for now. Argus gives him a week to produce the next delivery, threatening Young-soo when he complains that it used to be ten days. Young-soo looks a little pale when he gets back to the construction site, and only says that his driver “left the company.” But one of his workers notices blood on his ankle where the driver clutched him as he died.
Mo-yeon is still fuming at Shi-jin’s peeking at her underthings when he brings her coffee later that evening. But she can’t help but be worried about him and offers a sedative if his nerves are rattled from going off the cliff with her, though she hurts his feelings a bit by saying that it’s only that she’s thankful he saved her life.
Mo-yeon points out that he could have lost his own life saving hers, and Shi-jin just says that she asked him to save her. She remembers him telling her that he braved a shower of bullets to save a friend, and she’d teased that that was a scene from Saving Private Ryan. Now she knows that it wasn’t a joke.
She asks if he succeeded in saving his friend, which triggers his memory of catching his shot commander in his arms. He’d begged his friend not to die, but it was too late. But Argus had been saved that day, and Shi-jin says that today, for the first time, he regretted it.
Mo-yeon also knows that Shi-jin lied to her today when he sent her back alone, and figures that the gunshot she heard was him. Shi-jin asks if she can just trust him, and Mo-yeon sighs that this is all so complicated.
The power goes out just then, and an awkward silence stretches between them — until Shi-jin threatens to scream if Mo-yeon tries anything. Heh. She genuinely thanks him for saving her today, and Shi-jin deadpans, “But you still can’t do anything weird to me.”
The lights come back on and Shi-jin catches Mo-yeon staring at him, claiming that it makes him blush. She quips that funny men always have a lot of beautiful women around, so he must know a lot of them. Shi-jin counters that all he knows are cheerless men, pointing out that she ogles them every morning. Mo-yeon shoots back, “That’s what I live for these days.”
Shi-jin has Daniel’s car recovered and towed to his store the next day, and Mo-yeon feels so bad about it that she offers to pay for it. Shi-jin tells her that Daniel can fix anything… and the bumper falls off. Then the door. Oops.
Shi-jin borrows a walkie-talkie for Mo-yeon, since phones out here are unreliable and he worries about her. He teaches Mo-yeon to use it, and she realizes that “Big Boss” isn’t just his name in Dae-young’s phone, it’s also Shi-jin’s call sign. He suggests “Beauty” for hers, teasing that occasionally she’s pretty. Neither of them notices that Myung-joo is right there in the room watching them flirt, ha.
Shi-jin asks why she’s here, and her answer, “I’m here to marry you,” makes Shi-jin gulp and Mo-yeon’s eyes go wide. But she’s just been assigned to the medical team, and has come to report in. Mo-yeon isn’t happy about it and beats a hasty retreat, refusing to play nice with Myung-joo.
After she’s gone, Shi-jin asks Myung-joo why she and Mo-yeon don’t get along. Myung-joo skirts the question, wondering if they’re dating and voicing her objection. HAHA, Mo-yeon is outside the door trying to eavesdrop with her stethoscope, which is where Chi-hoon catches her. She shushes him and yanks him away.
Shi-jin and Myung-joo catch up, and we learn a bit about Shi-jin — his father is apparently also in the army, and Shi-jin will be going home early to attend his discharge ceremony. Myung-joo jokes that maybe she really should marry him for the job perks (Shi-jin: “Are you threatening me??”).
He brings up Dae-young first, and Myung-joo admits that he won’t answer her calls. So Shi-jin calls himself, complaining that Dae-young calls him all the time and bothers him, and always picks up… only to get his voicemail, hee.
Dae-young is busy leading a shooting exercise, and he fearlessly walks between his men and their targets as they fire live ammo. He tells them that the attack command only allows for action, not hesitation, and doesn’t even flinch as a bullet comes so close it tears a hole in his uniform. Okay, Dae-young is officially a badass.
He’s called before Lieutenant General Yoon (Myung-joo’s father), who asks him for recommendations for Team Alpha. He tells Dae-young that Shi-jin in in trouble and will no longer be given overseas assignments, that he’ll be sent to the Ministry of Defense for experience and to make connections.
He addresses Dae-young’s reassignment as well, admitting that Myung-joo is angry with him. He asks what Dae-young thinks, willing to be investigated for abusing his power. Dae-young replies that he agrees with Myung-joo, but that he’s lost this fight. He can’t win against a father’s sincere heart.
He holds his head up even as he leaves, and memories of Myung-joo race through his mind. Aww, they were so cute together. She calls him again, and he hesitates for a minute, but doesn’t answer.
Chi-hoon runs across Myung-joo and stops to ask her a question, as someone who’s about to do his army duty soon — do army doctors get a gun? She confirms that army doctors are still soldiers, and blinks a little at Chi-hoon’s blinding grin. She misinterprets him as flirting with her, and he honestly says that no, she’s not that pretty. HAHAHA.
Mo-yeon overhears and loudly congratulates Chi-hoon on his excellent eye, which irritates Myung-joo, and the two ladies trade barbs while Chi-hoon looks like he’d love to find a nice hole to crawl into. Myung-joo finally walks away, and Mo-yeon declares herself the winner.
During a doctor’s meeting, Mo-yeon gets a call on her walkie-talkie, and the person calls her “Beauty.” That’s hilarious. Even more hilarious is her face when she realizes that Shi-jin was right behind her and heard it. He wants to talk to her, but she’s so embarrassed that she snaps that his “fiancee” wouldn’t like it, and runs out.
Chi-hoon and Sang-hyun get silly that night with the walkie-talkies, pretending to be under attack and calling each other “Mr. Handsome” and “Chicken Lover.” Shi-jin laughs as he listens in while he’s packing to leave, and when they call in “Beauty” to sing for them, he stills. He finds the stone they took from the secluded beach, growing serious as he listens to Mo-yeon singing.
The next day Mo-yeon is surprised to find the men throwing a farewell party for Shi-jin — she didn’t know he was leaving. Fuming, she tries to work up the courage to call him, but chickens out and just directs her lecture to the walkie-talkie even though it’s off. She drops it in surprise when his voice comes through, and hears him asking everyone to let him know if they run into her.
She barks that she’s here, and Shi-jin asks why she’s listening in on the military channel. Oops. He finds her and tells her that he’s going home tomorrow, and Mo-yeon is upset that she was the last one to know. He points out that he tried to talk to her yesterday but she stormed off, but she just says that he should have chased after her.
Shi-jin thinks that her being angry gives him the upper hand for once, and asks if Mo-yeon’s still feeling complicated. She doesn’t answer, so he asks a question: About the kiss… what should he do? Should he apologize, or confess?
It’s a testament to Song Joong-ki’s acting skill that, even though I saw that line on a teaser ages ago and knew it was coming, that I still found my heart in my throat when he asked Mo-yeon what he should do. He really can emote like nobody’s business, and those tears welling up in his eyes just about killed me. I love the way he portrays Shi-jin, with so much heart and open emotion, and that dry sense of humor that takes me by surprise every time. I love how Shi-jin falls back on jokes to take the sting out of his frightening job for Mo-yeon, using his natural sense of humor to help her feel a little more comfortable in such an alien place.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, that I simply love how honest and open Mo-yeon and Shi-jin are with each other and their feelings. They don’t try to dance around their attraction or pretend it doesn’t exist, because it’s so obvious and strong that pretending would just be silly. I like that they bring up things like The Kiss right away, admit their conflicted emotions, and discuss them like grown adults. It’s refreshing to see someone say, “Yes it happened, but I’m confused about it, so let’s talk.” Or even, “It happened but I’m confused, I need more time.” I’m also enjoying how their banter is slowly syncing up, with Mo-yeon starting to join in Shi-jin’s teasing and flirting. They’re so cute together.
And they talk about the hard stuff too, about life and death and the choices they have to make. In any other circumstances, this honesty would make them the perfect couple, but here in this dangerous place it somehow manages to create a wall between them. Even as their honesty draws them closer together emotionally, it also scares Mo-yeon, because she’s realizing that Shi-jin could die at any moment. Rather than let herself fall in love with him, it’s easier for her to back away, and not risk her own heart. Not to mention that his job necessitates that he lie to her, and even if it’s to protect her, she’s not the kind of person to accept that easily. It’s another way that honesty comes back to bite them both, because while Shi-jin can be honest with her about how he’s feeling, he can rarely be honest about much else in his life. I also think that he’s purposely holding back a lot of personal information for a reason, and being such an open person normally, it feels as though his reasons for not talking about his personal life could be huge. I worry that when Mo-yeon finally notices, it will cause another rift between them.
Ratings aside, because we all know Descended is killing it right now, I think the show is doing well for itself so far — it’s not perfect, but it’s extremely entertaining and very well-crafted. But I do have one small criticism, and that’s the car/cliff scene. It felt rushed, which took some of the suspense away from me as a viewer, because it all just happened so fast that I didn’t have time to feel scared or worried for Mo-yeon and Shi-jin’s safety. The frightening moments weren’t allowed to breathe, so it never really felt like they were in much danger. Given that the show is all about war and conflict, and it’s shown that it has the ability to create some gripping suspense in the Arab prince’s surgery scene, I hope this is just a one-time directing gaff. It could be possible, given the lightness of the scene immediately after that, that it was a deliberate choice — but still, the fact that it wasn’t obviously one or the other was a bit confusing. But if I’m honest, I’m mostly here for the romance, and on that front the show is exceeding all my expectations.