Hello all! I'm not dead, I promise. I'm sorry for how much I have not posted this year. >.< Forgive me! Anyway, let's get on to it. You're probably thinking, Drama Queen, you are so late in reviewing this show and you are right. I'll let you in on a secret - I didn't even want to watch this show! GASP. I know. But it came up on U.S. Netflix and my good friend recommended it, so I got over how much I was not excited to watch a military drama and tucked in. Oh snap. I understand the hype. Here we go!
The Gist: It's fate for Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo) and Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) when they cross paths in a hospital and it's an instant attraction. It's not too long though before Mo Yeon, a surgeon, can't reconcile her life's work of saving lives with Shi Jin's occupation as a special operations soldier, especially when he disappears suddenly for long stretches of time. Fate works again though, when Shi Jin is stationed in the fictional country of Urk and Mo Yeon, along with many of her delightful coworkers, are sent along after him on a volunteer medical mission. Can they really keep apart when they see each other every day and the stakes get higher? Secondary plot line follows Shi Jin's best friend Dae Young (Jin Goo) and his superior Lt. Myeong Joo (Kim Ji Won) as they struggle post-break up with lingering feelings. It's romance and action for days - let's dive in!
1. The Leads are Super Fine
There is not really much to analyze about this. It's just true :)
2. Superstar Romance
Yow mama, do all four of our leads have chemistry or what!? I was worried this show was going to skimp on the romance and focus on the action, but it does a really good job of framing the action sequences around the romance, stitching them together just enough to keep the plot moving. I found myself a little annoyed with Mo Yeon early on because if she is keeping apart from Shi Jin because she's scared to lose him, then, well she's lost him already. It's not like her insisting they be apart makes her any less in love. She's just in denial about it. Still, though, I like the way they worked through this issue and really developed their relationship. DotS is 100% committed to the romance stories it is telling (even the side romances are pretty well developed) and it really makes me wonder how I was ever worried in the first place. I give A++ to both lead romance stories. Adorable, heart-wrenching, heart-warming, and everything in between.
3. Holy Action Sequences Batman!
*Spoilers gonna spoil! You've been warned* I'm just going to say that the episodes immediately following the earthquake were definitely my favorite of the show and some of the best for most dramas I've watched. The tension played out perfectly and honestly, just really highlighted the work that emergency responders do. This really showed our characters at their best (well maybe not Chi Hoon, but pretty much everyone else). I've heard criticism that the action gets unbelievable and well, just think how much they went through in that time (natural disasters, disease epidemics, several major car incidents, gun fights, it goes on). Honestly, though, I didn't find much issue with it - it kept the show moving at a quick pace without too many filler episodes. You may have trouble with it, but I was sitting chanting Bring It On!
4. Diversity for Days!
I am so stroked about the sheer inclusion of this show. We have several characters, including the main bad that only spoke English. This showcased our main actors English abilities. It's always nice to actually see characters who are supposed to be from English-speaking countries, speaking English. It was also nice to not need subtitles during some scenes. Also, I love that in the Dae Young and Myeong Joo story line, the problem was that she was too high-ranking for him! You go girl! Work that female in command angle. Loving it. Also, I love that Mo Yeon's friend in the hospital is in a wheel chair and only one person ever says anything about it. She's just another character. DotS does a fantastic job of showing off some diversity and I am still pumped.
5. Ki Bum (Kim Min Suk)
Seriously, Ki Bum is such a punk at the beginning of this episode! But just think, if he hadn't been a little thief, our story wouldn't have unfolded and then where would we be? I'm glad that we didn't just ditch this character after the first episode because it was a real joy to watch his growth throughout this series. It also says a lot about Dae Young and his past, without ever really talking about it for the dedication that he has to Ki Bum. Also, sort of spoiler, that ending scene with Ki Bum and Dae Young had me crying big crocodile tears.
1. Almost Not-Quite Ending
*More Spoilers* Seriously, stop reading if you don't want to know about the ending of this show. So, does anyone find it so harsh that our poor girls thought that their guys died for a year?! I understand they were trying to validate some of Mo Yeon's concerns without actually killing anybody off, but wow, that's some serious character abuse! I found myself just like openly weeping through the 15th episode, even though I was like 99.99% sure they weren't dead (I mean, there's always the 0.01% right?). Don't get me wrong - I loved the reconciliation and the actual ending. I was literally laughing out loud at the screen, but man, get ready for feelings when you sit down for this one.
2. Myeong Joo's Dad
Cliche's don't typically bother me, but the whole my kid is too good for you so I'm going to incessantly interfere with your love life thing is really overrated. If Myeong Joo's dad really cared about her happiness and what she wanted, this would not be an issue. I mean, she's a grown woman and he's just constantly abusing his power over them both. It's pretty depressing. I feel like this show had enough original ideas that this one just seemed to stick out as overplayed. I mean, who really cares about Dae Young's ranking? Is this something people care about? Does the fact that he's super special forces count for nothing? Oof. Could do without!
I'm just going to leave this part empty :)
So... I loved DotS. Loved loved loved it. I sprinted through them. I watched these in 4-5 episode batches, so I had the whole thing done in like 3 sittings. I also feel like this will be immensely rewatchable and I'm really looking forward to diving into this again in the future. This had a great balance of romance and action that made this an easy and compelling watch. Unlike some shows attempting the same thing (I'm looking at you City Hunter!). I'm contemplating moving around my top ten. If you've had any reservations about watching this - I was with you, but it's definitely worth it.
Final Grade: A+