Descendants of The Sun Recap: Episode 15

"Descendant of the Sun" (photo source: DramaFever)

Joy and sorrow meet.
Warning: Potential spoilers ahead.
The previous episode ended with Shi-jin falling asleep with his arms around Mo-yeon. Episode 15 opens with him waiting to be discharged from the hospital. Mo-yeon says she will be his girlfriend instead of his doctor that day and wheels him outside into the beautiful weather. While she is pushing his wheelchair, she asks what he has been listening to. He puts his headphones on her and plays a recording of her romantic confession. Mo-yeon lets go of his wheelchair in shock. Shi-jin goes rolling down a hill, yelling in alarm, and she chases after him until he crashes and tumbles out. Her immediate concern is for the expensive wheelchair. Shi-jin accuses her of attempted murder. She is a danger to everything with wheels, and he suggests she avoid public transportation.
Dae-young and Myung-joo are not having as much fun. They share a meal together, but Dae-young has nothing to say. Myung-joo wants to know if he is really willing to endure leaving the military to work in her family’s company. He says that will because he will have her by his side. Dae-young states that he is willing to let his dream go, but he will not let her do the same. She is a rising star in the military. He will not let her abandon that or her father.
Later, Dae-young, Shi-jin and the other members of Alpha Team surprise Ki-bum at his high school qualifications exam. They are there to cheer him on and wish him luck. Ki-bum scurries off to his exam. The men stand around awkwardly, failing to blend in, and then their cell phones all begin to ring. They have an assignment. However, Dae-young does not get a call.
He is in uniform back at headquarters, though it is unclear whether or not he is going with Alpha Team. Then Lt. General Yoon calls Dae-young to his office. He explains that it is a three-month mission and they do not have a replacement for Dae-young on the team. He can either sign Dae-young’s discharge papers then and there, or Dae-young can go and he will sign the papers when they find a replacement. Dae-young wants to go. Lt. General Yoon remarks that he does not know when he will find a  replacement. He tells Dae-young to come back safe and healthy. They will have tea and meet with Myung-joo when he does.  When Dae-young leaves, Lt. General Yoon tears up the discharge papers.
Shi-jin goes to see Mo-yeon one last time before he leaves. She does her best not to become upset when she learns he will be gone for three months. He hugs her goodbye and promises he won’t get hurt and won’t die. He promises that he will return when the seasons change.
In the next scene, Shi-jin boards the helicopter with Alpha Team. Agus‘ warning to Mo-yeon serves as a haunting reminder. Shi-jin could leave one day and never come back. Mo-yeon appears distracted at work. However, she is relieved when she receives a text from him telling her that he arrived safely. She continues to text him about her day and how much she misses him. But he doesn’t reply.
Shi-jin is busy sending civilians and soldiers off in a helicopter in the middle of what looks like a war zone. He and Dae-young stay behind for the next helicopter. Suddenly, a bullet rips through Shi-jin’s chest, and he collapses onto Dae-young. Dae-young drags him to cover and is hit as well. Wordlessly, Shi-jin looks at his bloody hand. He begins to lose consciousness while Dae-young struggles to control the bleeding …
Shi-jin slips further into unconsciousness and sees a vision of his commander, who died during the mission that saved Agus. Dae-young screams at him to stay awake and is shot again. He collapses as Shi-jin slumps to the ground. Alpha Team has returned for them on a helicopter. However, the team is too late. An explosion destroys the car Shi-jin and Dae-young are using as cover. Meanwhile, Mo-yeon walks through the hospital, blissfully unaware.
It is raining when the team returns to Korea … without two members. Only somber faces greet them on the tarmac. Shi-jin’s father is the first to receive the news and his son’s dog tags from Lt. General Yoon. He takes them with shaking hands and breaks down in tears.
Mo-yeon and Myung-joo have been eagerly awaiting Dae-young and Shi-jin’s return. Instead, they receive heartbreaking visits. Mo-yeon is at the hospital when Sergeant Choi breaks the news of Shi-jin’s passing and delivers his will. She does not understand. Even as tears fill her eyes, she stares at Sergeant Choi and repeats that she simply does not understand. It can’t be true.
Myung-joo does not believe it either. She sobs and demands that her subordinate deliver the report correctly. Dae-young simply can’t be dead.  She goes to her father and asks him to tell her that it isn’t true. When he attempts to give her Dae-young’s letter, a goodbye letter Dae-young wrote to be delivered in the event of his passing, she refuses to take it. Taking it means accepting the news as true. She angrily tells her father that it is his fault. He is responsible for taking the time they could have had together. Because of him, her last words to Dae-young were in anger.
Mo-yeon races to the military headquarters after reading Shi-jin’s will, where he apologizes for failing to keep his promises to her. Mo-yeon finds Myung-joo in tears outside and wants to know why she is crying. How can she cry at a time like this? Mo-yeon demands to know if Myung-joo has any answers. Mo-yeon can’t ask questions herself, but perhaps the military got it wrong. Maybe there is hope. However, the idea does not last long. She sees Dae-young’s letter in Myung-joo’s hand, and the reality sinks in. When Mo-yeon asks her if she will really never see Shi-jin again, Myung-joo simply nods. Then Mo-yeon collapses next to her in tears.
We see her in her home, expressionless. Shi-jin asks her in his will to move on and be happy with someone else. Lt. Colonel Park visits Mo-yeon at home. He has a difficult task. He explains that Shi-jin and Dae-young’s deaths will be explained away as a car accident. Then he asks Mo-yeon to sign a confidentiality agreement. Before she signs, Mo-yeon wants to know if Shi-jin’s death saved someone’s life. She asks if his death was for their nation and if it protected the peace somewhere. Lt. Colonel Park replies “yes” to all. However, Mo-yeon will not be able to tell anyone what his death meant. She cries as she signs the document.
Mo-yeon throws herself back into life at work in the OR as the seasons change around her. She still carries old text messages from Shi-jin in her phone and continues texting him stories about her day, though she never receives a response. While she is sharing a drink with Dr. Pyo in her office, Dr. Pyo tells Mo-yeon to go home. She is spending too many nights at work. Mo-yeon smiles and tells her that she is sexy in the operating room. The comment reminds her of Shi-jin (viewers may recall episodes three and four, in which Shi-jin teases her about being “sexy” in the operating room) and her smile immediately fades.
In the next scene, Myung-joo gives her report on her intended transfer back to Urk. She thanks her father for giving her a fair transfer. He remarks that the only unfair transfer was Dae-young’s. Lt. General Yoon asks her if she can forgive him. We do not see her answer. Instead, Myung-joo meets with Mo-yeon at a bar and tells her that she is transferring back to Urk. She suggests that Mo-yeon go back with her.
Mo-yeon asks how Dae-young and Shi-jin met. Myung-joo explains that they met because of a woman. A flashback shows Dae-young leaving a wedding alone in the rain. Suddenly, Shi-jin ducks under his umbrella and puts his arm around him, grinning from ear to ear. Shi-jin introduces himself as the captain, to which Dae-young immediately responds that they are dating. Shi-jin looks understandably confused. He quickly removes his arm and asks who, exactly, is dating. The two men go to a bar to clear things up. Dae-young repeatedly states that he is dating Myung-joo, though he fumbles over his story. Shi-jin does not argue with him. He pours Dae-young a drink and says he does not think they will be fighting over Myung-joo. He wants them to be on the same side from then on.
Mo-yeon goes home with the story in mind. She sits on her couch, surrounded by her memories of Shi-jin, particularly a stuffed toy belonging to him (viewers may have noticed it in the previous few episodes). She begins to cry when she imagines Shi-jin sitting there with her, telling her how beautiful she is and apologizing for failing to return. She has memories of him promising to come back to her. She demands to know if his promise truly meant so little and wants to know why he isn’t there. The Shi-jin she sees murmurs that he had been working for peace and had every intention of returning to her.
Mo-yeon breaks down in sobs, tearfully reminding this imaginary ghost that he didn’t come back. Then she is alone again with nothing but his stuffed toy to comfort her.
Meanwhile, Myung-joo returns to a quiet camp in Urk. She has Dae-young’s letter but vows never to read it.
Mo-yeon has decided to go overseas to volunteer at an Albanian refugee camp. She is in the airport when she receives a call from Daniel. She tells him about going to volunteer but admits that she has an ulterior motive. The next day will be the one-year anniversary of Shi-jin’s death. We see Mo-yeon treating patients in Albania. She seems happy. However, she still texts Shi-jin.
Myung-joo seems to be doing well in Urk. She is back in her role as the army doctor there, and she is not alone. Ki-bum is stationed in Urk with her. He has been promoted to sergeant. They sit down to enjoy ramen together, and Ki-bum points out a surprise — it is snowing in Urk.
There is no snow in sight in Albania. Mo-yeon is walking in a desert by herself. She puts flowers down on a pile of rocks in memorial to Shi-jin and reminisces about all the times he promised not to get hurt or die. She remembers the first time he said he loved her and breaks down in tears, calling him a liar. She takes the stone that Shi-jin gave her, the one from the beach in Urk, and attempts to leave it on the memorial. However, it keeps falling off. She tries again and suddenly, Shi-jin’s voice comes over her radio. She tries to convince herself that she is hearing things, but the voice repeats the name “Big Boss.” The text messages that she sent to him suddenly begin appearing as “read” in her phone. Then she hears his voice on the radio again. 
A strange wind blows over the desert. “Beauty … turn around,” he says over the radio, calling Mo-yeon by her nickname. Shaken, she turns and spots a figure walking over the horizon. She is convinced that it can’t be real, but she runs toward him anyway. Shi-jin meets her halfway. With tears in his eyes, he embraces her.
He has been alive all this time.
Why couldn’t Shi-jin contact her? Where is Dae-young? Find out on the next episode, available now on DramaFever.

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