WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
The first two episodes attempt to be emotionally impactful, but they don't have enough to work with. They treat a budding romance like a tragic love story, even though the main couple has known each other a grand total of three days. The drama continues to rush itself here and there, but the first two episodes are the worst culprits. Also, there is a huge amount of bad English in this drama, as the majority of it takes place in the fictional country of Urk, and not South Korea. I blame Kim Eun-Sook, the writer behind the disaster that was The Heirs (2013). It seems she has a thing for making people speak English - even if they can't. Also, the drama does not follow one solid, backbone plotline - unless you count the romance between Captain Yoo Shi-Jin (Song Joong-Ki) and Kang Mo-Yeon (Song Hye-Kyo). Rather the drama is a series of events - not my favorite way to tell a story, but by the end of the drama, I didn't mind. Also, while I adore the Alpha Special Forces Team, I wish the writers had given some more love to the three soldiers who weren't the main characters. They deserved more screen time. Also, many of the scenes between Seo Dae-Young (Jin-Goo) and his 'it's complicated' girlfriend, Lieutenant Yoon Myung-Joo, (Kim Ji-Won) were cut, even though their relationship was a focal point of the drama.
WHAT I DID LIKE
There's a lot to love here. My personal favorite element of the drama is the relationships - particularly between the Alpha Special Forces team. Shi-Jin (Joong Ki) and Sergeant Seo Dae-Young (Jin-Goo) have one of the best on-screen friendships I've ever seen, providing the perfect balance of quiet understanding and humor. I also have to give an enormous shout-out to the little-known Hoon Park, who played Staff Sergeant Choi Woo-Geum. Against all odds, he rose to the rank of My Favorite Character - even surpassing Dae-Young and Shi-Jin. He's a complete gem.
The male leads are unique in that the usual Lead/Second Lead position is reversed, and the wisecracking, cheerful one is the First Lead, and the stoic, more enigmatic one is the Second Lead. Shi-Jin's character is also the most honest male lead I've ever seen - in spite of the fact he lies out of necessity as a special forces captain, he is totally honest whenever he can be.
Also, it's important to watch Jin-Goo's ears when he smiles. It's the best medicine.
ARE YOU READY TO CATCH ALPHA FEVER?