Descendants of the Sun Recap: Episode 5

Well, that escalated quickly.

Warning: Potential spoilers ahead.

Episode four ended with Shi-jin and Mo-yeon’s relationship growing heated. So much so that episode five opens with things looking a bit scorched between them. Their interactions, snappy and distant, suggest regret. But an emergency concerning a local boy forces them to reconcile and work together. Back in episode two, we discover the local children have picked up the habit of sticking dirty tools in their mouths for lack of anything else to eat. A young man collapsed, and the doctors took him into their care. That same young boy goes missing, and Shi-jin and Mo-yeon put aside their differences to find him.

They leave the base and make their way to a nearby village, hoping to find him there. The boy is alive and well. They check on his condition, and his mother offers her sincere thanks. The visit with the boy and his grateful mother seems to soften the mood. Afterward, Mo-yeon and Shi-jin head into town and spend a bit of time together. It seems that they are able to move past some of the discomforts we saw earlier in the episode. Unfortunately, Shi-jin spots two shady figures and remembers their faces — they are the two smugglers that were caught impersonating aid workers in episode two. He lies to Mo-yeon and tells her that his presence has been requested at headquarters and she must go back to the camp alone. He sends Mo-yeon to the hardware store, suggesting that she can borrow a car from Ye-hwa and drive herself back to the base. Really, he sends her there to keep her out of danger. Mo-yeon arrives at the store, and we are introduced to Daniel, a very handsome Korean-American doctor and mechanic.

Daniel is Shi-jin’s friend and Ye-wha’s romantic interest. We also find out Daniel was present at the memorial service in episode four. He seems to know a great deal about Shi-jin’s past, which has its fair share of dark and brutal moments. In a flashback, we see a battered and bloodied Shi-jin being rescued from torturers. Shi-jin’s superior wants to rush him to safety, but Shi-jin insists on rescuing another comrade — Agus.

The decision costs Shi-jin’s superior his life. Those memories haunt Shi-jin, and they return full force when he and Agus finally come face-to-face after Shi-jin confronts the smugglers and pulls his gun. As it turns out, Agus has formed a criminal group of mercenaries and the smugglers work for him. He is trafficking weapons into Urk with the intent to sell them.

Earlier in the episode, we were introduced to workers at the Haesung power plant, a massive solar energy plant being built in Urk. The hospital is also part of Haesung.  Some of the employees, like smiling Manager Go, are warm and accommodating to the doctors. However, some are not so welcoming. We meet Chief Manager Jin Young-soo, and right away it becomes clear his ego is as tall as the energy plant tower. If his bravado does not land him in trouble, his propensity for greed certainly will. He makes a deal with Agus and hands over a bag of diamonds, suggesting that Agus’ plans may involve more than mercenaries and guns.

Whether or not those plans will involve Shi-jin and the doctors remains unclear, but Shi-jin warns him to “stay away” during a tense standoff.

Something worthy of note is the diversity in this series. While it is not uncommon to see non-Koreans in K-dramas, it is rare to see so many non-Korean people of color. Their presence is actually a part of the story and the land of Urk. They are not just fixtures in the background. It is refreshing to see this series acknowledge the language barrier present when you have people of different nationalities working together.

English seems to be the “common language” in the series after Korean and the native language of Urk. For some native English speakers watching, it can be difficult to withhold a wince when some of the characters struggle around English pronunciation. However, those efforts are more realistic than pretending that everyone magically speaks and understands Korean. There is even a moment during Agus and Shi-jin’s confrontation when Agus comments on Shi-jin “hiding” behind his language.” Shi-jin responds by making his threat very clear in English.

During this confrontation, Mo-yeon is driving back to the base alone. Shi-jin is on her mind, so she calls him, believing that he is on his way to headquarters. But her distraction nearly causes her to collide with a truck coming toward her. She swerves, just missing it. However, she drives off the road. The car rumbles over the side and ends up stuck on the edge of a cliff high above the sea. Shi-jin answers the phone in time to hear her panic, and he races to save her. When he reaches the car, Shi-jin climbs in with her. His additional weight makes the car unsteady. Mo-yeon pleads with him to get out before the car falls with both of them inside. Of course, Shi-jin does not listen. Falling is exactly what he wants the car to do. Shi-jin’s rescue plan seems to distress Mo-yeon as much as her predicament. He pleads with her to trust him. Then he rocks the car over the edge of the cliff and into the sea.

They survive without injury, though Mo-yeon needs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. When she comes to, she’s furious with him for taking such a risk, but Shi-jin is in light spirits. He even teases her later on, pointing out that he can see through her damp clothes when they get back to the base. While their clothes dry, the two continue to talk, and Mo-yeon attempts to understand Shi-jin’s actions.

The next day, Shi-jin has the waterlogged car delivered to the base, much to Daniel’s distress. Shi-jin assures a guilty Mo-yeon that Daniel can fix anything. Mo-yeon does not seem so sure and watches as poor, heartbroken Daniel mourns as pieces of the car continue to fall off. Shi-jin then asks Daniel to deliver a box of hand radios.

Shi-jin wants the medical team to use them so that they can communicate even if phones are not working. As Shi-jin teaches Mo-yeon how to use them (suggesting “Pretty One” as her call name), Myung-joo arrives at the base, playfully announcing that she is there to marry him. Mo-yeon is not amused and leaves. She does not hear the discussion that follows. Dae-young was Myung-joo’s original reason for coming to Urk. She will remain there even though her father has ordered her back to Korea. Shi-jin will be returning to Korea as well. His father, also a soldier, will be retiring there. However, Shi-jin has yet to tell Mo-yeon that he is leaving.

Meanwhile, Dae-young puts the Alpha team through a nail-biting live fire exercise, displaying nerves of steel. He tells them that a soldier’s command becomes his life. He exhibits his dedication to the duties of a soldier during a difficult conversation with Lt. General YoonMyung-Joo’s father. The Lt. General does not believe that Dae-young, a soldier of lower rank, is good enough for his daughter. He believes that being with him will hurt her future. Dae-young seems to be willing to obey orders and do what is best for Myung-joo even at the cost of his own happiness. He tells the Lt. General that the fight between them is one he is willing to lose for Myung-joo’s sake.

Back in Urk, the medical team is having fun with their new hand radios. They have created their own nicknames, including “Handsome Spaceman,” “Half and Half with Pickled Radish” and, as Shi-jin suggested, “Pretty One” for Mo-yeon. Shi-jin listens to their antics as he packs for Korea. The next day, Mo-yeon’s bright mood is shattered when she happens upon a farewell party and learns of Shi-jin’s departure. She confronts him that night, wanting to know if he had planned on leaving without saying goodbye. There is no easy answer for Shi-jin, and he questions her about the kiss they shared at the end of the previous episode. He asks Mo-yeon if he should apologize for the kiss or confess.

What does Mo-yeon expect of Shi-jin? Find out in the next episode, currently available on DramaFever.

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