Descendants of the Sun Episode 7


In the aftermath of disaster, our soldiers and medical team work together in the rescue effort. But it’s not simply a matter of saving lives when tough calls have to be made, with split-second decisions and strapped resources, and they find themselves literally deciding who lives and who dies.



Having been sent back to Uruk to help with the earthquake rescue effort, Shi-jin and Dae-young jump right in with investigating the ruined power plant for trapped survivors. Young-soo, the crooked construction manager, tries to direct them towards the area of his office (and thus his hidden diamond stash), but Dae-young quickly squashes that idea, for safety reasons.

A soldier hears a noise through his equipment, and sure enough it’s the impaled worker tapping a rock on a metal strut. He’s losing strength, and Manager Go, who’s still pinned under a giant slab of concrete, does his best to keep the man awake and responding.

The rescue team speeds up their efforts once they confirm that there are survivors down there. Outside, Shi-jin and Dae-young continue to argue with Young-soo, who’s in favor of using the heavy equipment. It would be faster, but also much more dangerous.

Young-soo tries to pull rank as the Chief Manager of the site, but Shi-jin informs him that in a disaster situation, he is in charge. He has Young-soo forcibly removed, as a civilian in a rescue area.Shi-jin and Dae-young can focus now, and they figure out a plan to use their airbags to raise the fallen concrete slab that’s blocking their way into the building.

Just when the doctors are starting to hit some serious problems treating the injured, Daniel helps out by providing walkie-talkies so that they can communicate better. He’s at the Medicube, and has a patient from town with a serious skull fracture that needs immediate surgery. He asks Mo-yeon for permission to use their operating room, and she orders the Medicube staff to let Daniel do whatever he needs to do.

Young-soo saunters right back to where Shi-jin is supervising the lifting of the concrete slab, and idly comments that only a person with a death wish would crawl through that opening. Without hesitation, Shi-jin and Dae-young go right through the opening and into the building, just as the rescue team locates a group of survivors in another location and helps them out. One of the workers tells Mo-yeon that he’s heard Manager Go near to where they were trapped.

Myung-joo is also busy with patients, and one of them passes out just as Mo-yeon comes to check on things. Myung-joo starts CPR, but Mo-yeon instead just beats the man’s chest with her fist until his heart starts beating normally again.

The patient needs surgery, but there’s not enough time to send him to the Medicube. Mo-yeon decides that they need to do it here, and though Myung-joo argues that this is madness, Mo-yeon thinks it’s better than letting him die. This being Myung-joo’s patient, she has to decide… and tells nurse Min-ji to go for her instruments.

Min-ji gets back to the tent to find the instruments strewn everywhere, since Ki-bum just knocked the table over. The poor kid is trying to help, but his own shoulder injury makes it difficult for him to be useful.

Chi-hoon is also busy with a patient with a broken leg, but she refuses the anesthetic injection he’s offering. He can’t communicate with her so he doesn’t know why she’s refusing, until she shows him a picture of an ultrasound — she’s pregnant. He calms himself and mimes that it will hurt when he sets her leg, and they both grit their teeth through it.

Reporters swarm the rescue site, and one of them asks Ki-bum in English to update him on the current situation. Ki-bum can’t understand him so he tries to find someone to talk to the guy, but everyone is too busy. Sang-hyun finally offers to give him an interview if he’ll give him a ride back to the Medicube, where he’s needed.

Ki-bum finally finds a way to be useful, by donating blood to Myung-joo’s patient that’s undergoing surgery right there on site. Shi-jin interrupts to take Mo-yeon back to the collapsed building — there’s a patient inside who needs a doctor urgently. It’s Manager Go, who they’ve finally located.

He jokes about not being able to feel his legs, then admits that he was in a lot of pain until he saw Mo-yeon’s pretty face. Shi-jin ominously says that there’s another patient, and takes Mo-yeon to the man who’s been impaled on a metal spike.

He’s lucky that the spike didn’t hit his heart, but it’s dangerously close to his spine. Mo-yeon promises that if he doesn’t move, she won’t let him die. She tells Shi-jin that they need to get him to an operating room with the spike in place, but he calls her aside to talk in a scarily calm voice.

There’s a serious problem — the concrete slab on top of Manager Go, and the spike impaling the younger man, are connected. They won’t be able to free both men, and separating them safely is impossible. Mo-yeon has to make a terrible choice. She asks for ten minutes to make a decision, and Shi-jin allows her the time.

Young-soo tries again to convince Shi-jin to help him get into the office, claiming that the papers in there are too important to lose. Shi-jin just gives him a thousand-yard-stare when he starts appealing to his sense of patriotism, and growls that their country puts the lives of it’s people first. As a soldier, no paperwork is more important to Shi-jin than saving a life.

He hands Young-soo a shovel and tells him to get to work, if his papers are so important. Young-soo gets inches from Shi-jin’s face and spits that he’s made a big mistake, but just when it looks like the two are going to come to blows, a hail of rubble rains on them and Shi-jin whirls Young-soo to the ground underneath him, shielding Young-soo with his body.

A live electrical wire falls, and Shi-jin shoots down a block of concrete to move it away from the metal is landed on, to stop the sparking. He calls for help and walks away from Young-soo, but we see that he’s bleeding from a pipe that fell on him while he shielded Young-soo.

Manager Go figures out that they can’t save him and his employee, and he tells Mo-yeon to save the other man. He’s already raised his children, but the younger man has three children. He knows what this means for his own chances of survival, but Mo-yeon promises to do her best to help him as well.

Ye-hwa gets creative, offering the reporters an interview with the person of their choice in return for their donation of blood. They all want to interview Daniel, since he’s the one with disaster scene experience, but he wasn’t one of their choices and she grumbles at their stubbornness.

Dae-young enters the collapsed building, and though he’s careful, the floor goes right out from under him. Still in the middle of surgery, Myung-joo hears it happening over Ki-bum’s walkie-talkie. But she manages to keep her calm, stops Ki-bum (who’s still giving blood directly to the patient) from rushing to his hero’s side, and continues operating. A few seconds later Dae-young reports that he fell in sand, and he’s unhurt.

It’s time for Mo-yeon to decide which person to save. She tells Shi-jin that necrosis has already set in in Manager Go’s legs, and that he could go into shock and organ failure if/when they remove the concrete block. But the other patient’s injuries are so bad, he could bleed out once they start operating. She asks Shi-jin, who would he save?

He declines to answer — she’s the doctor, and it’s her decision to make. Mo-yeon argues that he’s the one with experience, and could make the best decision, but Shi-jin stops her there. There is no “best” decision here. Either way, someone will die.

Mo-yeon gets a little frantic, saying that she doesn’t know what to do, but Shi-jin says that she’s doing fine. But she needs to stop whining and make the decision, or both men will die. Nobody expects her to produce a miracle, just to make the best diagnosis that she can.

She chooses the impaled worker, and he’s freed and rushed to the Medicube for surgery. Sang-hyun meets them and takes over, telling Mo-yeon to go rest, but she stays to operate. The team scrubs in, and Mo-yeon starts by saying that this patient will not die today.

At the disaster site, the rescue efforts are done, and the dead taken care of by the soldiers. Shi-jin takes a moment with Manager Go’s body, solemnly saluting him for his self-sacrifice before he’s taken away.

Lieutenant Park only now arrives at the scene to relieve Shi-jin and his men. On the truck back to the base, Dae-young notices the blood on Myung-joo’s hands, but he doesn’t comment.

Back home, Myung-joo’s father invites Shi-jin’s father to his office, to let him know that both of their children are safe. Lieutenant General Yoon tells Shi-jin’s father that he has high hopes for his son, expecting him to become a General someday.

The Haesung Hospital employees are also updated, and Chi-hoon’s fiancee is especially relieved to hear that he’s safe. His mother is also there, and she grows shrill, demanding to talk to her son immediately. As it turns out, she’s a major benefactor of the hospital, which even sits on land that Chi-hoon’s family owns.

Now that he has time, Chi-hoon curls up thinking about the man he misdiagnosed who died. Sang-hyun joins him and tells him that the impaled patient is out of surgery and alive for now, and he asks if Chi-hoon is okay. By his silence it’s obvious that he’s not, really.

Young-soo storms into the Medicube demanding to see a doctor, claiming dizziness from low blood sugar. Nurse Ja-ae calls on the walkie-talkie for “any doctor who’s dying of boredom” to come help him, hee. When someone answers, she tells them that he needs an eye doctor, since he can’t see the condition of the critical patients all around him. I just love her snark.

Young-soo takes offense to her speaking to him in banmal, and she’s just all Oh, since you spoke to me in banmal first, I thought you wanted to be friends. She totally blows him off, leaving him amusingly frustrated.

Things are calming down, but there’s a new problem — there isn’t enough food on base to feed everyone, including the patients. Cue the skimpily-dressed bar hostess, bringing extra food to the base right on time. She’s brought enough for a hundred people, and Shi-jin offers to buy drinks for a hundred people later — on Dae-young. HA.

Shi-jin addresses his men once they’ve eaten, letting them know that their parents have all been contacted. As soon as communications are back up, they can video-call home. They’ll be back on rescue operations tomorrow, so he tells them not to dwell on the situation, but just focus and obey orders.

Myung-joo finds Dae-young washing up and comes to dry his face, and it’s cute how his eyes dart around to make sure nobody is watching, but he lets her. She asks if her father ordered him here or he came on his own, but he just replies vaguely that a commander sends his best troops to the battlefield.

Not satisfied with the neutral answer, Myung-joo asks how Dae-young would have felt if she hadn’t been alright. She has to wait a long time for his answer, but he finally admits, “I would have regretted the times I tried to run away from you.”

Myung-joo asks why he’s just standing there then, and that’s all it takes. Dae-young grabs her in a desperate hug, and she hugs him back, crying and smiling at the same time.

As the sterilizer is broken, Sang-hyun helps Ja-ae boil the used instruments that night. He gives her the password to his laptop, and instructs her to erase a certain file if anything happens to him. It’s his porn, isn’t it? Ewww, it’s totally his porn. Ja-ae reels and tells him to erase it now, but he refuses solemnly.

The patient with the impaling injury is still touch-and-go, but the patient who had surgery on-site is improving already. Chi-hoon’s pregnant patient is also doing well, and he’s even given her his phone to listen to music, to calm the baby. Mo-yeon praises Chi-hoon for being a good doctor and adds that he’ll be a good father, and he beams at her. Mo-yeon even finds the worker who gave her his shoes, and returns them to him.

A small shrine is built for the dead, eighteen at this point in time. Mo-yeon lights a candle, and we see that rescue efforts are still ongoing as night falls. Mo-yeon imagines the workers doing their jobs safely, and a vision of Manager Go stops to tell her that she’s doing a good job.

The stress of the last twenty-four hours finally hits Mo-yeon, and she lets herself cry. Shi-jin watches her, but he keeps his distance, though he looks as though he badly wants to comfort her.

A fellow soldier asks Shi-jin about his injured shoulder, and he admits it hurts a lot. Mo-yeon overhears and offers to stitch it for him. She says, out of nowhere, “I’m fine,” and Shi-jin asks how she knew that he was asking her in his head. Mo-yeon says that she heard him, loud and clear.

Shi-jin thanks her for being here, and fighting with them. He apologizes for being harsh with her earlier, but she understands — she’s a doctor, and she’s seen more people die than even a soldier has seen. He apologizes again if he wasn’t comforting enough, “… but I want you to be okay, sincerely.”

Mo-yeon smiles a little, and tells him to do something he’s good at instead of saying weird things. What she needs is his sense of humor, so he tells her she looks pretty right now. Mo-yeon says that he can’t even see her, since she’s standing behind him, but he counters that he saw her earlier.

Mo-yeon says that that was a truth, not a joke, but Shi-jin says that it was a joke. He whispers, barely audible, “I really missed you.” He admits that he tried everything he could think of, but he couldn’t stop thinking about her, and missing her.

He tells her to think about it, because this time, he’s serious.


Again, I just love how these two say exactly what they’re thinking, when they’re thinking it. Shi-jin is especially good at seizing the moment, which is unsurprising considering his career, which bring the knowledge that he could literally die at any moment.

By that last line it sounds as though Shi-jin is making his declaration to pursue Mo-yeon, if she’ll allow it. I think that he respects her decision last time they saw each other to ask for an apology for kissing her, but there’s probably also a part of him that realizes that she wasn’t rejecting him completely, she was simply saying that she wasn’t quite ready yet. Entering into a relationship with a man like Shi-jin should be done with a lot of thought about what it could mean to Mo-yeon, especially the possibility of losing him to an early death, and I do believe that he understands that. But he’s also letting her know that, as much as he tried and wanted to give her space and respect her wishes, he just can’t help his feelings. And it’s very in line with his personality to tell her exactly how he’s feeling, and to ask her to consider him in this situation as well as her own feelings.

It’s so good that Dae-young’s resolve to stonewall Myung-joo is starting to crack, because I swear, his pain was starting to kill me. Even tough it took a disaster to get them there, I hope that this means that they’ll start finding their way back to each other. I even have hope that Myung-joo’s father will change his mind, because he seems like a good father and a good man. And what good father wouldn’t want his daughter to be loved as fiercely as Myung-joo is loved by Dae-young? So maybe he’s not got as much career potential as Shi-jin, but when life is so tenuous for military men, it seems as though he’ll eventually agree that her happiness is more important.

I also love that the show gives even the side characters their moments to shine and their distinct personalities, such as Sang-hyun’s competence when it comes to treating his patients, Ja-ae’s ability to keep the entire medical team on track with just a stern look, or even Ki-bum’s change from a small-time thug to a sweet kid who genuinely wants to be of help. I particularly enjoyed Chi-hoon’s growth in the last couple of episodes. We know that he’s a chaebol, and we can posit that he’s probably gotten along on good looks and charm until now. he’s a sweet kid, but he didn’t really seem prepared to be a doctor and face the realities of what that means. It was nice seeing him learn from his mistake in diagnosing the patient who died, and this week using that to treat his next patient with more care and consideration.

I’ve tried to refrain from commenting on the bad medical practices in the show, and just focus on the positive, but I have to speak out after this episode. I definitely agree with many viewers that the medicine practiced by Mo-yeon and her team is sketchy at best, and just plain dangerous and wrong at worst. I don’t know if it’s just laziness on the part of the writing team, or simply that they’ve been given bad information, but at this point I’m leaning towards Door Number One. So many things seem to be there just for dramatic purpose (Shi-jin performing cursory CPR when Mo-yeon didn’t need it, Mo-yeon whacking a patient’s chest with a fist instead of using proper resuscitation procedure), and while I understand that this is a drama and not a medical documentary, a little respect for the audience’s intelligence would be nice. We know when something is just plain wrong, and if it’s so wrong that it takes your audience out of the story, then it’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Especially when your female lead is supposedly a talented surgeon.

So, having said that, and being a viewer myself who really otherwise likes the show and wants to go on liking it, I’m making a decision to just look past the terrible medical sections. Because otherwise I’m really enjoying the story and especially the characters, particularly the two main love lines. So I’m addressing it here and I’m going to leave it here, and from here on out just try to ignore the terrible medicine. Because aside from that, it’s a solid show, with a lot to recommend it.

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