Descendants of the Sun A Year After Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 16 in the post series DOTS A Year After

In episode 2 of the drama, we get to see the relationship of Yoo Shi-jin and Kang Mo-yeon gradually develops only to be shattered by Shi-jin’s incapability of giving her explanations and their opposing views on life and death. She bravely cuts her connection with him while he listens and says that he understands, but fate have them meet again eight months later.

Select Scenes from Episode 2

1. Rescue Operation

DOTS A Year After Part 2 image 1

This scene shows how dangerous Yoo Shi-jin and Kang Mo-yeon’s job is as a soldier and a doctor, respectively. While Kang Mo-yeon is doing a surgery operation in the hospital, Yoo Shi-jin is out in a faraway place rescuing hostages. She gets herself in a complicated situation with her team as part of the operation goes wrong. At the same time his mission gets ugly when shots are fired, forcing him and his comrades to exchange shots with the kidnappers. It is amazing how his mission and her surgery are weaving and intertwining with each other in this scene. We could see that while they have completely different jobs, they both work and fight to save other peoples’ lives.

2. Hair Washing Incident

DOTS A Year After Part 2 image 2

The risky rescue operation scene was followed by a light and hilarious interaction between Yoo Shi-jin and Kang Mo-yeon. The two are scheduled to meet as she promised during their last conversation. He came too early so they go to her house together where she prepares for their date. Unfortunately, as she washes her hair, the water runs out. We then see Kang Mo-yeon appearing from the bathroom as if nothing happened, but Yoo Shi-jin informs her of the notice that the water would be cut off at that time. She feels so embarrassed that she was not able to speak a word.

Kang Mo-yeon: I feel refreshed. I feel a lot better now. Did you order food?… Why are you staring at me like that?
Yoo Shi-jin: Your hair… Did you wash it? It says here that the water would be cut off starting 4 pm.

DOTS A Year After Part 2 image 5

3. Taken From Her Again

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We get to see an emotional Kang Mo-yeon in this scene. She is applying for a professorial position in Haesung Hospital for the fourth time already as she failed to get it in her previous tries. She cries after finding out that the position went to someone else again because of connection. It must be very heartbreaking for her to hear that bad news just after she gets stood up for the second time by Yoo Shi-jin.

4. Differing Beliefs

DOTS A Year After Part 2 image 7

Do you remember this scene where Kang Mo-yeon gives up on her growing relationship with Yoo Shi-jin because of his job and their differing beliefs about life and death? Read the full script below and find out how the clashing of their ideas as a soldier and doctor forces her to say those heartbreaking words to Yoo Shi-jin. This scene takes place when Yoo Shi-jin meets her again after completing his mission that interrupted their last time together.

Yoo Shi-jin: I am really sorry. I left you like that.
Kang Mo-yeon: What I want to hear is an explanation, not an apology. Where did you go this time? Did you take a helicopter again?
Yoo Shi-jin: No. I didn’t go far. I’m forbidden to elaborate.
Kang Mo-yeon: I see. You are not a spy, are you?… I had a long day. But now and then, I thought of you. Where did the man I was attracted to disappear to? What does he do? But even when we meet, you can’t tell me anything at all. It’s forbidden, right?
Yoo Shi-jin: Sorry.
Kang Mo-yeon: Are you in the Special Forces?
Yoo Shi-jin: Something like that.
Kang Mo-yeon: You said you do some labor back in your barracks. Having a gunshot wound means you got shot at. So you shoot, too? That means you could kill or be killed. That’s what you do, don’t you? Do you only fight bad guys?… I spend 12 hours a day in surgery fighting to keep people alive. That’s what I do. I fight for life. But your fight is to protect others through death.
Yoo Shi-jin: I’m a soldier. Soldiers follow orders. Sometimes what I believe is good and right means something else to another. Even then, I follow orders to complete my mission. So far I lost three comrades during such missions. The reason we do what we do is because it must be done. My family and I. your family and you, and everyone we hold dear. I believe that I fight for the peace and freedom of the land we live on.
Kang Mo-yeon: I’m a doctor. I believe life is sanctified, and that no value or ideology is above it.
Yoo Shi-jin: I see.
Kang Mo-yeon: Sorry. This didn’t go in a way I expected.
Yoo Shi-jin: I understand.
Kang Mo-yeon: I should go.
Yoo Shi-jin: It was nice knowing you… Bye.

5. Reunion

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If you remember the ending of the first episode, it was the helicopter scene where Yoo Shi-jin leaves Kang Mo-yeon for his emergency mission. The end of the second episode also has a helicopter at the background, but this time it was used for a completely different purpose — to bring Yoo Shi-jin in front of her again.

Eight months have already passed since the two parted at the coffee shop. One day they suddenly meet again. Yoo Shi-jin knows that Kang Mo-yeon is coming but she doesn’t know she would be meeting him again in Uruk like that. We could see her surprised look as she freezes and realizes that one of the men in military uniform coming out from the helicopter and walking towards her is Yoo Shi-jin.

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Focus: The Writers

Perhaps you’re aware of the fact that Kim Eun-sook is the writer of Descendants of the Sun, but do you know that there is another writer? Kim Eun-sook co-wrote the drama with Kim Won-suk, who is less known than the former among the fans of the drama. Maybe it’s because his name was barely mentioned in the published articles related to the show. Or his previous dramas were not successful enough for the media attention to focus on him as a writer who made DOTS a success.

Descendants of the Sun writers

The previous works of Kim Won-suk are Friend, Our Legend and The Queen’s Classroom. His work in Descendants of the Sun is his most successful so far and undoubtedly boosted his career in the industry. He is currently working as the writer of an upcoming JTBC drama Man to Man, which will air starting April 21, 2017.

In contrast, Kim Eun-sook is very well-known among Korean drama fans. After all, she’s been writing already since 2003 compared to Kim Won-seok whose first work was released in 2009. She had written a total of eleven (11) Korean dramas from South of the Sun in 2003 to Goblin in 2016.

Her career as a writer had significantly taken off with her second drama Lovers in Paris that aired on SBS from June to August 2004. This drama was so popular that it reached a peak and average rating of 56.3 and 41.4 %*, respectively, one of the highest in the Korean television history. She received her very first screenwriter’s award for this drama. And guess what specific award is that and from which awarding body? It’s the Best Screenplay from Paeksang Arts Awards in 2005!

Her third drama, Lovers in Prague, was also a hit at the time of its airing. It obtained a peak rating of 30.3 % and an average of 26.1 %. Her post-2006 dramas were also successful in terms of ratings but none of them achieved a peak rating higher than 30 % until 2011 when Secret Garden aired on SBS. Secret Garden is her 7th project that became so popular it achieved an all-time high rating of 35.2 %. This drama won her again the Best Screenplay from Paeksang Arts Awards in 2011, making her one of only six writers who won the award more than once. As if that recognition was not enough, she also received similar accolades from Seoul International Drama Awards and Korea Drama Awards.

She hit the headlines again in 2012 and 2013 for Gentleman Dignity and The Heirs, respectively. These dramas were also successful, achieving peak ratings higher than 20 %.

Descendants of the Sun is Kim Eun-sook’s 10th project, which turned out to be immensely successful and popular in Korea and abroad. The drama achieved a peak rating of 38.8 % and average rating of 28.6 %, making it the highest-rated weekday prime time drama in 2016**. Her recent project, Goblin, aired in December on the same year and repeated the success of DOTS, but this time in cable television. Goblin achieved 12.8 % in average ratings and now holds the record as the highest-rated Korean cable drama of all-time**.

Kim Eun-sook Dramas

Writers play a crucial role in the making of Korean dramas. They write stories that make possible the very existence of these shows. In the case of Descendants of the Sun, not only did writers Kim Eun-sook and Kim Won-suk create a story that essentially gave the drama a life, but they also made it to depict a world where people like Yoo Shi-jin and Kang Mo-yeon make sacrifices to fullfil their duties as descendants of the shining sun.

*Unless otherwise stated, all TV rating values are based on nationwide data from Nielsen Korea. **Ranking based on average nationwide ratings of all episodes of the dramas.

(DOTS A Year After is a 16-part post series that commemorates the first anniversary of the highest-rated weekday prime time kdrama in 2016. For your feedback and questions about the series, you can send an email to [email protected], message us through Facebook, or comment directly on this post.)

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Me? Just an ordinary lad with an extraordinary (says this something called 'stereotype') habit of watching Korean dramas. It started with action-filled City Hunter and the rest, as they say, is history.