How “Crash Landing on You” Crash Landed on Me
March 31, 2020
The meeting of Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) and Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun Bin) in Crash Landing on You was fate, not a coincidence. The 16-episode long series concluded on Netflix mid-February, but viewers are still gleefully discussing their favorite scenes and characters.
Crash Landing on You is a romance drama that follows Yoon Se-ri, a South Korean heiress and millionaire, and Ri Jeong Hyeok, a North Korean captain in the military. When a tornado suddenly hits while Se-ri is paragliding in South Korea, she crash-lands on the north side of the Korean demilitarized zone. She meets Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok, and he decides to break the law to help her safely return home.
After the crash, Se-ri stays at Jeong Hyeok’s house for a month while she determines how to return home. Several failed escape attempts later, she finally manages to return to South Korea. However, she soon realizes that she has fallen in love with Jeong Hyeok. She believes that her troubles are now over and that she’ll never see Jeong Hyeok again, but both of these prove false. When a corrupt military official infiltrates South Korea to kidnap Se-ri as revenge on Jeong Hyeok’s family, Jeong Hyeok and his comrades follow him to save Se-ri. At this point, Se-ri’s and Jeong Hyeok’s roles are reversed, and it’s now her turn to help him return home.
One aspect that the series expertly executes is character development. While at first I believed Se-ri was nothing more than a spoiled brat and a gold digger, she eventually disproved this as the season progressed. The cold and career-driven woman that Se-ri used to be would never have protected or cared for anyone, but she ends up taking a bullet in the chest for the man she loves towards the end of the series. Jeong Hyeok’s evolution was satisfying as well, as he became openly protective and caring for Se-ri when he even refused to admit that he was looking at her at the beginning of the show.
The show often takes on a dark tone, as it illustrates the tension between North and South Korea. The assistant scriptwriter, Kwah Moon-Wan, is a North Korean escapee and extensively strived to accurately portray life in North Korea while avoiding superfluous demonization in the show. However, the show does have its lighter moments, such as the comedic North Korean village women gushing over men. Other amusing scenes include Jeong Hyeok’s four comrades (or as I like to call them, the four lovable idiots) debating the meaning of the phrase “babe magnet” and encountering vacuum cleaners for the first time.
An unexpected component of the show was the vitality of a subplot in Switzerland. Although the action mainly occurs in North and South Korea, Switzerland is a crucial location to Se-ri’s and Jeong Hyeok’s story. Through a series of flashbacks, it’s revealed that the lovers had bumped into each other several times in Switzerland before properly meeting in North Korea a few years later. Jeong Hyeok actually saved Sei-ri’s life twice in Switzerland without knowing it, as he prevented her suicide on two separate occasions. When the two characters realize when and where they met before, they believe that their reunion in North Korea was destined.
Crash Landing on You was an entertaining series to watch, and it’s now my favorite TV show. I had a lot of fun laughing and crying with the characters, especially because the cast brilliantly brought each role to life. I’m happy that the drama came to a close with a more undetermined closing compared to the stereotypical “happily ever after,” so I’m hoping that there will be a second season. But for now, I’ll just say “sarangheyo” (I love you) to the series and rewatch my favorite scenes again.