First Impressions: “Descendants of the Sun”

descendants of the sun

It’s finally here; the long-awaited and much-hyped drama “Descendants of the Sun” is off and running! SO MANY FEELINGS, SOMEBODY HOLD ME (preferably Song Joong Ki):

I won’t lie. The biggest reason I started paying attention to “Descendants of the Sun” was because I heard that Onew was in it. What can I say? I’m all about anything with SHINee. JUST LOOK AT HIS ADORABLE DUBU FACE:

But after watching the intense main trailer and reading up on the buzz around Song Joong Ki’s first post-military project, I was intrigued. Soldiers and doctors in a fictional disaster-torn country? A melodrama about finding love and humanity in the chaos of war? All signs pointed to this drama being pretty incredible, so I was anxious to see if it would live up to the hype.

I think it’s still too early in the game to make a definitive call on this drama, but I’m enjoying it so far and I definitely plan to keep watching. Here’s my take on the first two episodes (WARNING: A FEW MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD):

Production Value

This drama definitely has the feel of a production that’s pulling out all the big guns. It’s gorgeously made, full of eye candy (Song Joong Ki’s abs, anyone?), and seems ready to go all-out with the melodrama and romance. Even the OST oozes star power, with Yoon Mi Rae‘s lovely ballad, Chen and Punch’s bright duet, and if my ears don’t deceive me, I think I heard K.Will crooning in the background of Episode 1. If nothing else, the aesthetics alone have fully hooked me. Did I mention Song Joong Ki’s abs?

*fans self*

Cast and Characters

It’s pretty rare for me to get on board with new characters right off the bat, but so far all of the leads in this drama have me smitten.

First, I absolutely love the bromance between Song Joong Ki (playing Yoo Shi Jin) and Jin Goo (playing Seo Dae Young). The balance between Yoo Shi Jin’s playful antics and Seo Dae Young’s stoic grittiness is pure gold, and they’re obviously a kick-butt team on the field (or in the street, stopping runaway thieves with toy guns).

sjk jg bromance

Song Joong Ki really brings Yoo Shi Jin to life, whether he’s dashing off to war, flirting with pretty doctors, or faking pain to get attention (so cheesy, I love it). I think there are still a lot of layers to his character, too, and it’ll be interesting to watch his development.


As for Seo Dae Young, let’s be honest: Jin Goo could just stare soulfully at the camera for an hour and I’d still watch.

I also like Song Hye Kyo’s character, Kang Mo Yeon. I like that she’s a no-nonsense professional, not just a damsel in distress. She keeps in step with Shi Jin’s antics with a sass of her own (well, except when Shi Jin shows up two hours early or when there’s a water outage at her apartment).

So I’m all about the Song-Song couple. In my opinion, Song Joong Ki has been carrying more of the weight so far in terms of chemistry — I mean, have you SEEN the way he looks at her?

But there’s a lot of potential for development in their relationship, even though they’ve basically been put together right away.

As for Kim Ji Won’s character, we haven’t seen enough of Yoon Myung Joo to get a sense of what she’s like. There’s still so much mystery surrounding her romance with Dae Young and her background with Mo Yeon! But at least it doesn’t look like there will be a love triangle between the lead characters… yet.


Here is where I have the most mixed feelings. I absolutely loved Episode 1. It had everything I was anticipating about this drama and more (except Onew — he didn’t show up until Episode 2). There was heart-pounding action. There were fun, silly moments (including an entertaining cameo by Lee Kwang Soo). There were sparks flying between both main couples. The pacing felt quick and sharp but not too rushed. Basically, everything was amazing, and I don’t know the last time I got so pulled in by a pilot episode.


So I was kind of let down by Episode 2, which felt all over the place and whipped through more than 8 months’ time in a single sitting. I didn’t mind that there was no mention of Uruk, the fictional country that has been plugged in the teasers all along, until Episode 2. In fact, I almost preferred it that way, thinking there would be some build-up to whatever crisis brings our characters there. Instead, it felt like they haphazardly got plunked there, and fate just so had it that all the leads ended up there together even though they arrived separately. The balance that had been struck so well in Episode 1 just wasn’t there in Episode 2.


Final Thoughts

Although I didn’t like Episode 2 nearly as much as Episode 1, it certainly wasn’t enough to make me write off this drama. Overall, there is still a lot to love, and I think the drama definitely has great potential. I can’t wait to see what happens next — it’s sure to be quite a ride!

Soompiers, what do you think of “Descendants of the Sun” so far?

“Descendants of the Sun” airs every Wednesday and Thursday on KBS2. Catch the latest episode on Viki!

Descendants of the Sun soompi to viki banner

minjiya can usually be found writing in a cafe, blasting K-pop dance tunes to motivate herself through long runs outside, or plotting her escape from the midwest. Say hello/send her a gif on Twitter @yaminjiya.