If we thought that our soldiers would be safer once they got home, we’d be wrong — danger comes in many different forms, and can happen at any time. But friends can also be found in unexpected places and at surprising moments, and though not all friendships are meant to last a lifetime, occasionally they can move mountains.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Two patients are rushed to the hospital, and Sang-hyun takes over for the first man, who we recognize as the North Korean soldier that Shi-jin knows. Mo-yeon goes to take the second patient, who’s in critical condition from multiple gunshot wounds, but she gasps in shock when she realizes that the patient is Shi-jin.
We back up to see what happened, and learn that the North Korean soldier (his name is Jung-joon) was unarmed when he approached Shi-jin and Dae-young. They’d held him at gunpoint and asked what he was doing here, and he’d said that he’s here because he considers Shi-jin a friend. I knew it, I knew he was a good man.
He’d asked to be sent home, but before he could explain why he wasn’t asking for asylum, shots rang out. A van had screeched into view and Jung-joon was shot. Hiding behind cars, Dae-young and Shi-jin get off several good shots but the men manage to kidnap Jung-joon.
Shi-jin calls for backup, then goes running after the van, executing some pretty slick moves around other cars. He ends up in front of the van, but he only has one bullet left, and radios to Dae-young that he’ll stop the van.
He waits until the van passes a fire extinguisher, and uses his last bullet to shoot a hole in it. The spray causes the van to skid to a stop, but Shi-jin is shot several times as they pass him. He loses consciousness just as Dae-young comes running.
In the ER, Shi-jin goes into cardiac arrest, and when the defibrillator fails to start his heart again, Mo-yeon starts doing chest compressions. She begs him desperately to wake up, but just as she loses strength and is forced to stop, she hears a weak voice: “That really hurts.”
The first thing Shi-jin asks about is Jung-joon, but Mo-yeon snaps that this isn’t the time to be worried about others. Shi-jin smiles that she looks familiar, ever the jokester, but he asks again about about Jung-joon and even tries to get up.
Mo-yeon assumes that Jung-joon is the one who shot Shi-jin, but Shi-jin explains that he’s a friend. Nurse Min-ji runs in to report that Jung-joon is freaking out, and we see that he’s awake and holding Ja-ae hostage with a scalpel.
Ja-ae actually argues that he needs medical attention, and Shi-jin arrives to help. He asks Jung-joon to submit to treatment, but Jung-joon is afraid to let a South Korean doctor operate on him. Shi-jin says that the doctors are the only ones who don’t care which side he’s on, and though Jung-joon is still raring for a fight, he’s lost too much blood and passes out.
Shi-jin asks Mo-yeon to perform Jung-joon’s surgery, and in answer, she tells the other doctors to treat Shi-jin. She does Jung-joon’s surgery, and luckily for him, his injuries aren’t too severe. She notices a recent wound on his arm that’s been stitched, and figures out that he’s had something implanted under the skin.
Back at the site of the shootings, Dae-young reports to Lieutenant Park what he knows about Jung-joon: he’s a North Korean soldier who’s often assigned to protection duty, and that he told them he would be off-duty during this meeting. He didn’t initiate this shoot-out — he was the one being pursued.
His attackers have been arrested, and they’re identified as Matagonian embassy security (another fictional country). Jung-joon had counterfeited a Matagonian passport, which is their excuse for shooting and kidnapping him. Seems a bit of an overreaction, and Dae-young says so.
Shi-jin is relieved to hear that Jung-joon’s surgery was a success, but Mo-yeon would rather talk about Shi-jin’s behavior (did he not need surgery after almost dying??). She’s angry that Shi-jin doesn’t seem concerned with her feelings when she watched her boyfriend literally die right in front of her, and he gives her a tiny little, “I’m sorry.”
She’s still upset that he’s more worried about Jung-joon than her, and threatens to kill him herself once he recovers. Then Jung-joon is wheeled into Shi-jin’s room, and Dae-young follows to formally inform Mo-yeon that this room is being cordoned off, and even doctors are not allowed in without permission.
Later Mo-yeon gives Dae-young the item she removed from Jung-joon’s arm, which looks like some sort of microchip.
Dr. Kim gets nosy (again), asking Mo-yeon what exactly her boyfriend does to be getting shot and having men in black suits swarming their hospital. Mo-yeon sighs that she wishes she knew, then leaves to answer a summons from Director Han.
Director Han is trying to bluster his way past the guards to Shi-jin’s room, and he also turns to Mo-yeon to ask what the heck her boyfriend is involved in. His usual tactic of getting loud doesn’t work on the soldiers, and tells Mo-yeon to take care of it, though what he expects her to do is a mystery.
Shi-jin interrogates Jung-joon while Lieutenant Park films them, but Jung-joon keeps frustratingly silent. He refuses to even acknowledge Shi-jin’s questions of why he’s here or whether he’s on a mission, so Shi-jin asks if he wants political asylum.
When he doesn’t answer, Shi-jin tells Lieutenant Park that Jung-joon asked to be sent back North, which makes no sense to anyone. Why come to South Korea, only to ask to be sent home?
Dae-young has taken possession of Jung-joon’s personal belongings (after Sang-hyun nearly killed himself with the deadly injector pen), and they send the chip found in his arm to be analyzed right away. They’re still listening in on the room, and Snoopy reports that Shi-jin is doing all the talking… about food, ha.
Lieutenant Park is ready to have a nervous breakdown, with the President calling him and Shi-jin in there discussing condiments. The North Korean dignitary wants Jung-joon turned over to his country by morning, or the summit will be called off.
It’s discovered that Jung-joon is wanted by Interpol as a murder suspect — two days prior in Tokyo, the main witness to a Japanese mafia case was killed by a sniper on her way to testify in court. But it’s the fact that the sniper was found dead soon after that’s of interest, and it’s for that murder that Jung-joon is wanted for questioning.
The really interesting part is that the sniper is someone we’ve met — he’s the other soldier that was in the bunker back when Shi-jin and Jung-joon fought, the one that Dae-young dealt with. He’s one of Jung-joon’s former subordinates.
The information on the microchip is so heavily encrypted that it will take a week to break it, but the North Korean government wants Jung-joon back by morning. Dae-young tells Shi-jin that getting him to talk is their best bet, but Shi-jin says that as long as he knows they’re listening, he won’t say a word. He has an idea, but he needs the microchip, and Mo-yeon’s help.
Too bad the chip is being analyzed at this very moment, but Dae-young thought ahead and got a copy made. He sends Mo-yeon in to examine Jung-joon, and she tells him that there’s a piece of shrapnel close to his spine that could paralyze him.
Shi-jin grins at her fussing until she turns it on him, and starts in on “that ugly person” who yelled at Shi-jin when she operating on the Abu Dhabi prince — now she’s angry because he interrogated her and her team. Knowing that Lieutenant Park is listening, Shi-jin puts his hand over her mouth, and writes on Mo-yeon’s hand that the room is bugged.
Ha, Mo-yeon starts to chatter about how happy she was to see Park, so happy that she nearly hugged him. While she’s yapping, Shi-jin writes a note that he needs a private place to speak with Jung-joon. Speaking in code, Shi-jin asks Mo-yeon to pick a place, and she reluctantly agrees, choosing the CT room.
Shi-jin somehow gets Jung-joon to the CT room and tells him to speak freely, that this is his last chance to get Shi-jin’s help. Jung-joon is still reluctant to talk until Shi-jin mentions the former subordinate that he killed, then he demands his belongings back. Shi-jin tosses him the faked microchip, and it’s enough to get Jung-joon talking.
He tells Shi-jin that they got a tip that their best Special Forces personnel were being hired by mafia syndicates to act as hit men. Jung-joon’s mission was to eliminate the traitors and discover who was ordering the hits. When Shi-jin asks if he was successful, Jung-joon holds up the chip and says that he should already know.
Shi-jin claims that the code is too difficult and just asks for the password — or better yet, the information itself. In answer, Jung-joon swallows the chip, and declines the South Korean government’s help. Shi-jin tells him that they’re planning to hand him over to his government in the morning, and interestingly, Jung-joon doesn’t look happy to hear it.
Jung-joon is left alone, supposedly sedated, but he uses the needle of his IV to pick the lock on his handcuffs and busts out a window. He climbs to a lower floor and breaks another window to get in, but finds Shi-jin waiting for him with a gun. He tells Shi-jin that he has to finish his mission, which clues Shi-jin in to why he didn’t look pleased to be picked up by his government.
He says that he’s been wondering why Jung-joon came to see him, and he’s deduced that it’s because they share an enemy. Jung-joon’s country has betrayed him.
Jung-joon points the gun at his own heart, and claims that a warrior never betrays his country. We see that after he’d killed his former comrade, he’d taken the man’s phone and answered a call, only to hear his own commander’s voice on the other line. Commander Choi, the same dignitary who’s on his way to finish the summit meetings. He’d asked if Commander Choi was the traitor, but Choi had chuckled evilly that he was the traitor.
Jung-joon clutches Shi-jin’s gun and begs him to help him escape, but Shi-jin argues that he’ll die if he goes back. Jung-joon says that he’d rather die on his home soil, and Shi-jin’s eyes go hard. He wrenches the gun up to Jung-joon’s head and says that he’s also a soldier, carrying out a mission for his country, and Jung-joon slumps in defeat.
He’s taken away in handcuffs, but before he leaves the hospital, Shi-jin hands him a chocopie. He tells Jung-joon to savor it, with a purposeful expression.
Shi-jin feigns pain to get out of Mo-yeon’s questioning, but she’s totally not buying it. He fesses up that Jung-joon broke the windows, but she demands that he pay for the damage anyway. She orders him to sit still until his IV is done, which he obeys only as long as it takes for her to leave the room.
Dr. Kim just can’t help but be nasty, and she manages to offend Chi-hoon’s fiancee Hee-eun and Ji-soo in one fell swoop. Hee-eun grabs her by the hair, but she’s not fighting — she’s going into labor. HAHA, Ji-soo just tells her to yank on Dr. Kim’s ponytail harder.
Someone from hospital administration approaches Mo-yeon for compensation for the broken windows, and ha, Chi-hoon just stands there looking innocent as if he doesn’t own the entire hospital. He runs off when he gets the call that his baby is on the way, and Mo-yeon also squeals and runs… in the opposite direction. LOL.
Jung-joon is taken to Commander Choi, who pretends to be glad to see him, and Jung-joon’s salute looks like it was actually painful to execute. He reports that he punished the traitor, and looks Choi right in the eye when he adds that he knows who made the order.
But he refuses to disclose where the chip is now, so Commander Choi flips back the curtains, and Jung-joon looks down to see a sniper sight aimed right at his heart. Choi orders Jung-joon to say his last words, and Jung-joon asks for a bowl of his favorite noodle dish to be placed at his memorial.
Choi looks triumphant, until Jung-joon adds that he will now finish his mission — he will eliminate the traitor, Commander Choi. He breaks a glass bottle on a table edge and rushes at Choi, but before he can even scratch him, he’s shot down by the sniper.
Commander Choi meets with the South Korean President as planned, where they discuss the matter of reuniting separated families. Despite Commander Choi’s words, the President doesn’t feel that he’s all that interested in making the reunions happen, and that they want to cut off all contact with South Korea. Choi just chuckles as if this is all very entertaining, and stands to leave.
But the President stops him and gives him one more thing to read — a list of bribes Choi has taken from the mafias, buying the use of his men. Choi storms out of the meeting room, but finds himself stopped by men who say they’ve been ordered to take him and Jung-joon back to Pyongyang. Wait, Jung-joon is alive?!
We’re shown in flashback that when Commander Choi opened the curtains to allow access to the sniper, that sniper had been none other than Shi-jin. Awesome. He and Team Alpha had arrested the original sniper and Shi-jin had taken his place, and they’d heard Commander Choi’s entire confession through the bug that they’d planted in the chocopie that Shi-jin gave him.
He’d shot Jung-joon in the shoulder as soon as he heard Choi say the password to the coded microchip, and Jung-joon had pretended to be dead (then snarked that the South Koreans are bad shots once he was alone, heh). It hadn’t stopped Jung-joon from being arrested for deportation, but he’d asked for a minute to eat the chocopie.
The soldiers rush to get Shi-jin back to his room and suited up in a hospital gown before Mo-yeon comes back to see him — I love how they’re more scared of her than they were of the North Koreans, heh. He can’t get his pants off because of his cast, so he jumps in bed and pretends to be asleep.
Mo-yeon leaves him to his nap, then turns and walks right back in to find Dae-young taking off Shi-jin’s pants. Rawr? HAHA, Dae-young jumps into bed and Shi-jin pretends to be Dae-young, as if Mo-yeon didn’t just see everything. These guys are such idjits.
Once she leaves again, Dae-young asks how he plans to pay for the broken windows, so Shi-jin suggests that they split the cost “like real men.” To which Dae-young retorts that he’s not a real man, and pushes his hair behind his ears effeminately. ~PFFT~
Mo-yeon finds Myung-joo lurking in the hospital lobby, though she claims she’s only here to see Shi-jin. She tells Mo-yeon that she and Dae-young broke up, and after her initial surprise, Mo-yeon is all Well I get it, those two are like “Dumb and Dumber.”
The atmosphere is frosty in Shi-jin’s room, though Shi-jin tries to get Myung-joo and Dae-young to talk. Instead they argue over who will leave first, and Shi-jin tells Myung-joo all about Dae-young’s girly behavior earlier, trying to break the ice. Myung-joo ins’t amused, agrees that they’re just like “Dumb and Dumber,” and leaves.
Shi-jin asks Dae-young why they broke up, since it seems pretty serious. Dae-young explains about his discharge request, and Shi-jin gapes that he made such a huge decision without even talking it over with his best friend.
Then he tells Dae-young, “Go after her.” If he’s willing to give up his life for her, then he shouldn’t waste time fighting with her. Dae-young does, and finds Myung-joo standing alone downstairs. He stops just around the corner from her, though she can see his reflection.
Sang-hyun and Ja-ae watch them from a short distance, wondering what they’re doing just standing there. Sang-hyun analyzes the situation, guessing that Myung-joo did the breaking up so she can’t go to Dae-young. Ja-ae sees it from Dae-young’s point of view, that he can’t go to Myung-joo because he wants to let her keep her pride.
Sang-hyun asks Ja-ae to help him pick out a new car, and this time when he teases her about liking him, she admits it. Finally! He buys the car quickly, so that he can take her out on their first date.
The breaking news is that North and South Korea have agreed to start holding meetings to reunite separated families, and Mo-yeon smiles at the news. She visits Shi-jin, who complains that he only sees her during her rounds lately, and she asks him why he left the hospital. He says he went to the rooftop for some fresh air — just not the rooftop of the hospital.
He nods when Mo-yeon asks if he went to the “department store” with his friend, meaning Jung-joon, and asks why he came back alone. Shi-jin just says sadly that they had different paths to follow. He says that he feels bad, and requests comfort rather than a scolding — even though he did his duty, he’s upset that he doesn’t know whether his friend is dead or alive.
Mo-yeon admits that she’s worried about him, and Shi-jin invites her to lay down next to him. Cut to: Mo-yeon lying on a cot next to the bed, and Shi-jin whining that she turned him down. Awww. He says that he’s too weak to try anything, but Mo-yeon points out that he wasn’t too weak to go to the “department store.” Good point.
She sleepily tells Shi-jin that Chi-hoon became the father of a little boy today, and Shi-jin smiles that he’s probably as adorable as his daddy. He apologizes for worrying Mo-yeon, and thanks her for saving his life. She wonders out loud why they’re always thanking each other for saving their lives, and Shi-jin apologizes again.
She murmurs that she saw the kind of peace that he fights for on the news today. But if he’s really sorry, he can thank her by never showing up covered in blood again.
Shi-jin asks if she wants to see that movie they keep missing out on, and they sit on his bed together, finally able to enjoy the movie without interruption. At some point Shi-jin gets his wish and they fall asleep spooning, and in voiceover, Mo-yeon says that she doesn’t remember who fell asleep first.
“It ws a long and tough day, and I was in his arms. I shone brightly through the night in his arms, like a woman who was deeply loved.”
They never did see the end of that movie.
With the exception of Myung-joo and Dae-young, this was another episode that felt like it could have served as a finale. That’s not a complaint — I like that we’re getting little wrap-ups at the end of each week, and it makes me look forward to seeing what we’ll get when it’s actually finale week. It’s sweet to see Mo-yeon and Shi-jin readjusting their relationship after every hiccup, big or small, and learning to fit their lives and expectations together into one strong love. They’re even finding out that their fights don’t have to be about big things like their careers — they can be about small things like broken windows or irresponsible behavior with buddies, but at the end of the day, they’ll work it out and be stronger for it. Despite their extreme situation, it’s very true to life, how even they have to go through the awkward pains of starting a new relationship.
I wasn’t expecting there to be more military and political intrigue after we got back to South Korea, but I actually really like that we’ve come back full circle to Jung-joon and the North Koreans, since they introduced the story in the first place. Something about Jung-joon and his interaction with Shi-jin made a big impression on me in the first episode, and I appreciate that he got a heroic treatment here at the end. No wonder Shi-jin always respected Jung-joon, because he understood how he felt as a fellow soldier. It was an interesting angle, to see the patriotism that the show has been touting from the beginning, applied to a soldier from another country. Yes, some of the political statements througout the course of the show have been a bit problematic in their idealism, but I appreciate that we were shown that love of one’s country is universal.
That said, I don’t even know what to say about the continuity/logic issues in this episode, there are honestly too many to count. Not that the show has ever been particularly strong in this area, but it does feel as though, as soon as we got everyone back to South Korea, logic flew right out the window. I mean, aside from the — I’m sorry but it’s true — terrible medicinal practices (Shi-jin just bouncing out of bed less than a minute after dying on the table, and being shot multiple times yet not needing surgery are just a couple of examples), it’s like the writers have completely given up on trying to make anything make sense. How did Shi-jin sneak Jung-joon out of their room with all those guards posted? Why would the South Korean soldiers leave Jung-hoon alone to eat a chocopie? And why is a doctor
It’s really the characters that carry the show, though I honestly don’t know that even that would be enough if it weren’t for the spot-on perfect casting. I can’t fault anything in anyone’s performance, and for the most part, there are really no character discrepancies — everyone behaves in ways true to themselves, and the continuity mistakes are confined to situations outside of the characters themselves. There are even some wonderfully clever callbacks to comments made back in very early episodes, which definitely add to the fun. Maybe that’s why the show baffles me even while it charms me… because the characters are so well-written, and the cinematography is certainly breathtaking, so why is the logic in certain areas of the storytelling so weak? It’s still a good show (and the ratings certainly prove that I’m not the only one who thinks so) but it does make me wonder what might have been, if just a little extra care had been taken – it’s not as if they didn’t have the time. Descended From the Sun has certainly made its case for more pre-produced shows to give it a shot in the future, and I do hope more dramas try it out. There are a lot of ways in which the show has proved its worth, and a lot of areas in which the process could be improved, and I’d love to see more attempts made and discover where it could lead.