In episode six, disaster strikes and takes a heavy toll.
Warning: Potential spoilers ahead.
This episode hacks at the heartstrings without an ounce of mercy. Have a box of tissues ready, viewers. The warmth that we saw between Shi-jin and Mo-yeon in episode five quickly turns frosty again, and they are back to square one. Mo-yeon accepts Shi-jin’s apology. Then Shi-jin departs from Urk, leaving Mo-yeon to wrestle with her feelings. This time, Shi-jin’s orders take him back to Korea. There, he discusses his military future with his father, a retiring soldier. His father is upset because Shi-jin is no longer up for promotion — his punishment for disobeying orders and allowing Mo-yeon to operate on the Arab leader. However, his father agrees that some things are more important than rank and promotions.
Shi-jin lightens the somber mood later in the episode when he flies in via zip line to interrupt a training exercise where Dae-young is hammering new trainees into shape. Dae-young remains unsmiling and stone-faced, unimpressed with Shi-jin’s adorable antics, but he is still pleased to see his friend. The two soldiers go out for drinks and discuss the women in their lives. However, their conversation comes to an abrupt end. Some disgruntled former recruits have a bone to pick with Dae-young (while EXO’s “Call Me Baby” plays in the background). Apparently, he has a habit of telling his trainees that he will disregard rank and fight them if they ever meet outside. This group wants him to make good on his word.
Shi-jin and Dae-young can see that they are in trouble. They quietly agree to make a break for it on the count of three. Dae-young springs away on one, implying that he is more interested in saving his own skin than Shi-jin’s. The two men leap from table to table and discover that the bar is full of soldiers who want a piece of Dae-young. They barely manage to push and fight there way to freedom. However, the angry soldiers will not give up so easily. The following chase scene proves actors Song Joong-ki and Jin Goo certainly don’t skip their cardio. Song Joong-ki can move.
At the end of the night, after Dae-young and Shi-jin successfully escape and part ways, Dae-young gets a phone call from Myung-joo. It’s enough to make his heart jump even when he is standing still.
Meanwhile, Mo-yeon can’t seem to escape reminders of Shi-jin. The boy that was treated for lead poisoning earlier in the series brings her a picture that he drew of Mo-yeon and Shi-jin together. She thanks the boy with a smile, but the expression does not linger. Though she and her team are scheduled to return to Korea, she does not share their enthusiasm during the departure preparations. She can’t even muster a true smile for one last group picture. Unfortunately, bigger problems are lurking.
In episode five, we were introduced to the workers at the Haesung solar plant, a massive energy project that began construction after the Urk war broke out. There, we see kind-hearted Manager Go scolding a worker for neglecting to wear his helmet. That is when a sudden tremor rattles the site.
By the time Manager Go and the workers realize what is happening, it is too late. Chaos erupts as a 6.7 magnitude earthquake rips through Urk, toppling buildings, snapping bridges and tearing apart the construction site. The army base is hit as well, and the doctors and soldiers scramble for safety. Mo-yeon and part of the medical team are traveling to the airport via helicopter and watch in horror as the disaster unfolds below them. As soon as they land, Mo-yeon immediately refuses to leave without the rest of her team and demands they be returned to the base so they can assist the victims.
In Korea, Shi-jin sees the news of the earthquake. The look on his face is worth a thousand words. He wastes no time arranging an immediate return to Urk for him and Dae-young. The hospital staff in Korea watches helplessly as the news reports flow in, while both the military and hospital board grapple with what to do next.
Back in Urk, the Haesung tower has collapsed, trapping workers inside. The medical team bravely races to the horrific scene. It appears that none of them have ever encountered an emergency on this scale. However, they know what is needed of them. The doctors quickly set to work answering the cries of the earthquake victims. Manager Go, who survived the collapse, is one of those victims. He awakens to find himself trapped underground with a massive piece of debris crushing his lower body. Another worker is trapped nearby, impaled through the chest by a piece of metal. Manager Go can hear the worker’s pained moans but can do nothing to help him. He begins making noise so that rescuers can locate them. Unfortunately, Manager Go’s call for help can’t be heard over the chaos above him.
In the middle of this chaos, we find Chi-hoon, a privileged doctor with a pregnant fiancée, frantically attempting to revive a man. The team has a system for tagging victims by order of importance. Those with a yellow tag do not require immediate attention. Those with a black tag are deceased. Chi-hoon gave this man a yellow tag, but the injuries prove to be far more severe than he thought and the man dies. Chi-hoon is in near agony over his mistake. However, none of the other team members can take much time to comfort him.
The soldiers and doctors continue to work tirelessly. Mo-yeon does not stop to think about herself. She is so preoccupied with tending to the injured, she does not notice the state of her feet. Clad in the remnants of the high heels she purposefully broke in order to walk easier, her feet are scratched, dirty and blistered. One of the men she is treating sees the shape she is in and gives her his boots.
Determined, she treats the earthquake victims according to the oath she took — regardless of their race, religion, nationality or social status, all patients are treated equally. Soon she and the other doctors have help. Shi-jin and Dae-young arrive via helicopter with soldiers and fresh supplies. Shi-jin and Mo-yeon share a long, silent look that speaks volumes. Shi-jin finally breaks the silence when he stops to tie Mo-yeon’s boot. He tells her that he regretted leaving Urk without seeing her face and asks her to take care of herself. Mo-yeon responds in kind, and they walk away, but what remains unsaid hangs heavily in the air.
Is Shi-jin the only one with regrets? Find out on the next episode of “Descendants of the Sun”, available on DramaFever.