In episode three, love is literally a battlefield.
Warning: Potential spoilers ahead
In episode two, Shi-jin and Mo-yeon are reunited on the Korean military base in the land of Urk. Mo-yeon and her crew of doctors settle into their less-than-comfortable accommodations, learning the hard way just how many rules they have to follow. Meanwhile, things between Shi-jin and Mo-yeon continue to progress into unfamiliar territory.
Feelings tick away like a bomb buried beneath the sand, but Shi-jin’s attempts at flirting go terribly awry after Mo-yeon meets several local children. She crossed into a restricted area, an old mine field, and warns them not to play with dangerous things. After the children have gone, Shi-jin suddenly tells her not to move; she may have stepped on a landmine. He is teasing her, of course, and casually steps in to save her when she flies into a panic. Though his “rescue” ends with Mo-yeon safely in his arms, she is furious when she discovers his prank. Shi-jin later apologizes for going too far, stating that he only spends time in the company of other guys.
Former pickpocket Ki-bum is one of those guys. He returns as a clean-cut recruit, one of the youngest and most adorable of the squad. After being treated at the hospital in episode one, he followed through with his commitment to the army and received his first-class service orders. Now, Private Kim Ki-bum serves under the watchful eye of Shi-jin and Dae-young. Myung-joo, army doctor and apparently Dae-young‘s girlfriend, also makes an appearance in this episode. She sends a letter to Dae-young implying that she will soon be joining him in Urk. Her relationship with Dae-young proves to be a complicated combination of feelings and rank, the latter firmly enforced by her father, Lt. General Yoon.
Dae-young does not appear to be thrilled with the news of Myung-joo’s impending arrival, and the episode flashes back to his early days in the army. The two characters met during a joint march, and Dae-young, first in his company, refuses to let his fellow soldiers fall behind. When he ignores Myung-joo’s order to stop participating in the march so that she can treat his no doubt sore feet, she sarcastically implies that he only wants to remain first so that he can gain permission to take a vacation and crash an ex-girlfriend’s wedding. Much to her surprise, he tells her that she is correct.
Later, she decides to join him and says that she will pose as his girlfriend at the wedding. In return, he must do her a favor and pretend to be her boyfriend in order to upset her father’s plans to match her with a man of his own choosing, Captain Shi-jin Yoo.
Though the episode only touches on the beginning of their romance, it is clear that Dae-young and Myung-joo do not have the most favorable odds. Myung-joo’s father plainly states that Dae-young is not good enough for her and a relationship with him will only hurt her future.
More complications arise when armed imposters are caught moving through Urk as aid workers. However, a nameless character, played by David Lee McInnis, hastily and viciously deals with their failure. Little is revealed about the character, but it is implied that the local police have been smuggling arms through Urk for him. The addition of McInnis adds to the pleasing amount of diversity among the faces in “Descendants of the Sun.” Characters of all races and nationalities have been appearing in Urk, and some have had notable interactions with the expanding cast.
Ri Ye-hwa is introduced as an emergency relief nurse for Peacemaker. Viewers may recall seeing Ye-wha buy a gun for her own protection in episode two. She works part-time at a hardware store in a town near the army base. She is running the shop in the absence of the co-owner, a man named Daniel. Dae-Young casually suggests Mo-yeon tak along on his trip to town. Shi-jin takes her to the hardware store, and it is here that he explains to her that Ye-wha is Korean-Russian. After the meeting with Ye-wha, Shi-jin whisks Mo-yeon away for their long-awaited date instead of returning to the base.
The scenery in this episode is simply captivating. Shi-jin and Mo-yeon travel by boat over crystal-blue waters to a stunning secluded beach. There, in the company of a beautiful shipwreck, Shi-jin explains that the local people believe taking a stone from that beach means they will be able to return no matter what. The shipwreck is not the only beautiful thing on the beach. When Mo-yeon asks about the ship, Shi-jin replies that it is bewitched. He has been bewitched as well, but Mo-yeon’s response isn’t the romantic confession we have been hoping for.
As the day ends, the members of the medical team are enjoying dinner and a quiet night back at the base. However, the quiet does not last long. One of the local children, a young boy, approaches medical team member Chi-hoon, a father-to-be introduced in episode two, for food and then collapses in front of the alarmed doctor. Mo-yeon and Shi-jin have returned and step in to help the boy, but their conversation from the beach has muddied the water between them. They don’t have the chance to clear things up. The entire base is suddenly thrown into lockdown, and they must prepare for the arrival of a secret VIP patient, President Murabat of the Arab League. When the unconscious president arrives, the doctors find themselves flying blind.
They are given limited information, and the president’s team of bodyguards, another win for diversity, question Mo-yeon’s actions at every turn. As the president’s condition deteriorates, Mo-yeon’s examination reveals that he is in need of immediate surgery. President Murabat’s bodyguards will not allow anyone other than the president’s personal physician to operate on him. When Mo-yeon insists, guns are drawn on both sides, throwing the doctors and soldiers into a tense standoff.
Will Shi-jin and Mo-yeon cross the line? Find out in the next episode of “Descendants of the Sun”, available on DramaFever.