Cringe-worthy moments mar Descendants Of The Sun finale
For all the fuss and buzz leading up to Thursday night's Descendants Of The Sun finale, the last episode of the hit K-drama was not as hot as expected.
I'm no superfan of K-dramas, mind you.
With Korean shows, I have learnt to read reviews of completed series before finding one that won't be too full of "noble idiocy" - we love each other, but can't be together because we stupidly think separation is for the best - or lapses of logic, also aptly known as LoLs.
But Descendants is set in fictional war-torn country Urk and stars abs-tastic Song Joong Ki, a former cast member of my favourite variety show Running Man, so I figured it would be safe enough to watch it.
For the most part, I was right.
In this fast-paced, 16-episode eye candy-packed military romance, our leading man, suave army special forces Captain Yoo Si Jin (Song),meets and falls in love with surgeon Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo) - all in the first episode.
The couple go through an action-packed dating life in Urk, surviving land mines, cars falling off cliffs, shoot-outs, bombings and even an Ebola-like disease outbreak.
In the penultimate episode, Yoo and his sidekick, Sergeant Major Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo), are severely wounded by the militia and declared dead by the Korean army.
But all that action, tension and drama that made Descendants so popular disappeared in the finale, which turned out to be a letdown, no thanks to a convenient "back from the dead" storyline and with all the relationships tied up in pretty "I love you" bows.
Here are the final episode's five most cringe-worthy moments:
1. DESERT MODEL OR ESCAPED PRISONER?
In the opening scene, Yoo is reunited with Kang in the Albanian desert, supposedly after escaping some 150 days of captivity by an unknown militia force.
But Yoo looked more like a model in a commercial, complete with a hipster cowl scarf, instead of a tortured prisoner presumed dead for a year.
The dialogue was also lacking - I lost count of how many times the lines "You were alive" and "I'm sorry" were uttered over and over.
2. OH, SO CHEESY
Over in Urk, Seo and his love interest, First Lieutenant Yoon Myung Joo (Kim Ji Won), are similarly reunited, during "Urk's first snow in 100 years", of course. Cue a repeat of the first reunion, swopping sand for white flurries. At least Seo showed up with his arm in a sling, looking vaguely more believable as an escapee.
3. UNNECESSARY CAMEOS
Back in Seoul, the story suddenly - and senselessly - takes a detour with a random appearance by Korean girl group Red Velvet performing for the soldiers. We see the uniformed men break into awkward dance moves as they turn into groupies, with Yoo even holding a sign saying "Red Velvet over my girlfriend".
4. BLATANT PRODUCT PLACEMENT
We know shows survive on sponsors, but do we really need to learn about a hotel search engine, a smartwatch and a cash withdrawal system via smartphone in the finale? Last I checked, we signed up for a K-drama, not an ad channel.
5. IT GETS WORSE
One of the show's characters suddenly breaks the fourth wall in the last few minutes to tell us: "Don't you love an ending like this? We overcame all of life's difficulties with love, and everyone lived happily ever after. The end."
That was probably the worst part of the entire show and that's the note on which it ended.
It was as if star scriptwriter Kim Eun Sook was seeking affirmation for a job well done.
So as much as I enjoyed the visuals, I won't be one of those mourning the end of Descendants - only what could have been.