Overall Rating: A
Subtitles: The Viki subtitles for this one were phenomenal.
Brief Synopsis: A special forces soldier and a doctor have to negotiate what it means, and whether it’s worth it, to have a relationship despite their very different careers and priorities. (This is a terrible synopsis for a very dynamic and wonderful show but I can’t think of a different way to succinctly summarize without spoilers so here we are). Watch on Viki here.
**Full show spoilers below the image. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not proceed**
Ending Type: Perfection. Absolutely a happy and fitting ending.
Characters: This masterpiece has a rich cast of characters and far too many excellent side characters to really get into, so as per usual we will focus on the mains (BUT SHOUTOUTS TO OUR AWESOME SIDE CHARACTERS YOU ALL ROCK!)
The main quad consists of Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) and his bff Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo) who are both members of a special forces unit in Korea that sees a lot of national and international action. Shi Jin is the leader of their particular unit (Captain? I am not confident enough with military rankings to be comfortable trying to use them) and Dae Young is his second in command. Yoon Myeong Joo (Kim Ji Won) is an army doctor with an impressive career who is the daughter of one of the highest ranking military officials who happens to oversee the operations of the special forces unit that stars our two main men. She and Dae Young have a complicated personal history on account of they are like, super into each other but her father does not approve. Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo) rounds out the group as a doctor who really just wants to have a good and comfortable career but who doesn’t have great luck with the leadership at her hospital. General tomfoolery brings them all together at the hospital where both Mo Yeon and Myeong Joo (who are not fond of each other) are working and from that point forward life continues to bring them together again and again no matter how hard they try to stay apart (or don’t). This involves working together in a remote area that suffers some major disasters (we’re talking violent attacks and an earthquake that brings down a power plant and also an infectious disease outbreak) and then trying to get their lives back together in Korea and then the guys being presumed dead for like a long time while the girls lean on each other and try to endure it. Together, and separately, these four are awesome. Myeong Joo is one of the most hilariously determined and pernicious characters I’ve ever seen written. Dae Young is the serious, quiet, and shockingly romantic foil to both Myeong Joo and Shi Jin. Mo Yeon is confident and aloof and capable but also very warm and fun which makes her a fantastic lead. The most charismatic and engaging, though, is definitely Shi Jin, who is absolutely on the ball in all crisis situations and a very capable and determined leader but also one of the cheekiest and most charming male leads I’ve seen yet. A+ character writing and acting all around.
I also want to mention the villain for the first third(ish) of the season, Agus (David McInnis) because David McInnis is my favorite non-Korean Korean actor and I love it when he shows up in my favorite shows and I think he killed this sinister and cocky bastard role to be honest. The way he was written, and his back story with Shi Jin, were really impressive to me considering at the end of the day he was just a bad due who would go to any lengths to make more money.
Relationships: Primarily we have the relationships between our four mains. That includes the friendship between Myeong Joo and Mo Yeon (they begin as adversaries and end up very close due to the fact that they are in love with best friends and then have to learn to grieve together), which I thought was built well and had lovely payoff. The friendship between Shi Jin and Dae Young was the starting point of, and the heart of, the entire show. A+ bromance, I love these boys to death and their bond with each other and unwavering loyalty was just…. pure gold.
In the romance arena we had two of my favorite K Drama romances all rolled into one show (bless them). Myeong Joo and Dae Young had the most ridiculous but touching dynamic I’ve ever seen, like wow the feels sure hit you hard with this one. Their constant battle with each other to try to resolve the issue of their obvious attachment and her father’s disapproval was pretty heart-rending, especially when Dae Young is prepared to give up everything for her and she won’t let him. There was just so much to them and their story that was so emotional and I really have to hand it to the writers and the actors for finding a way to throw us into the middle of an existing relationship and still feel entirely invested in it.
And we cannot talk about this show without gushing about Shi Jin and Mo Yeon and the on-screen romance that led to the real life marriage of the Song-Song couple. Like oh man was their chemistry intense. Their story was also super well done, from their meet-cute to their initial dating to the very real and understandable reasons Mo Yeon calls a halt (who wants a boyfriend who disappears without notice, may die at any time, and who kills people for a living? (OK if that boyfriend has Joong Ki’s face though)), to their reunion in Uruk to Mo Yeon’s eventual “giving in” as it were. I was 10000000% rooting for them and totally invested in their story and it was fantastic. The end.
High Points: Pretty much the whole show, but especially especially especially the chemistry between all the actors in the main cast. Ugh, such a great show.
Low Points: Pretty much the only thing that can be classified as a low point would be the part where supposedly both Dae Young and Shi Jin are dead. Like I think they delivered the emotions of that storyline well but it was also clear that they were not dead and would be returning so I didn’t fully jump on that emotional rollercoaster ride.
Final comments: This show is amazing. Wonderfully written, brilliantly acted, a perfect blend of action and romance with some nice comedic characters and moments. All around superb. Just. Such a great show. High recommend.