K-Drama Review: Crash Landing On You tells the story of two star-crossed lovers, Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin), a South Korean Chaebol heiress, and Ri Jeong-Hyeok (Hyun Bin), a member of the North Korean elite and a Captain in the North Korean Special Police Force.
“Crash Landing On You” story
One day while Yoon Se-ri is paragliding in Seoul, South Korea, a sudden tornado knocks her out and blows her off course. She awakens to find her paraglider had crashed into a tree in a forest in the DMZ in North Korea (an area forbidden for South Koreans). She then meets Ri Jeong-hyeok and falls into his arms when descending from the tree. Ri Jeong-hyeok eventually gives Yoon Se-ri shelter and develops plans to secretly help her return to South Korea. Over time, they fall in love, despite the divide and dispute between their respective countries.
Yoon Se-ri’s family suppresses the news of her disappearance out of fear that it will depress the stock price of the family-controlled chaebol. Se-ri’s two brothers, Se-Jung and Se-Hyung, are rivals competing for the top position of their father’s company, who both claim to be the rightful heir. Just before Se-ri’s disappearance, their father had announced his decision to appoint Se-ri as heir due to his sons’ incompetence. As a result, the brothers and their equally ambitious wives, Do Hye-Ji (Hwang Woo-seul-hye), and Ko Sang-a (Yoon Ji-min) show their strong contempt towards Se-ri.
Se-ri’s and Jeong-hyeok’s story is intertwined with that of Seo Dan (Seo Ji-hye) and Gu Seung-jun (Kim Jung-hyun). Dan is the beautiful daughter of a wealthy North Korean department store owner. She has been studying cello in Russia for several years but returns so that she can marry Jeong-hyeok, to whom she is engaged through an arranged marriage (and whom she has only met a few times). As she returns to Pyongyang, she crosses paths, not for the first time, with Gu Seung-jun. Gu Seung-jun, who had previously been engaged to Se-ri, fled to North Korea (under the protection of corrupt North Korean officers) to escape from the pursuit of Se-ri’s brother Se-Hyung, under whose incompetent watch he had embezzled large amounts of money. Although their initial encounters are unpleasant, Seo Dan and Gu Seung-jun eventually fall in love.
The story follows Jeong-hyeok and Se-ri as they try to get her home. They discover along the way how fate connected them before even they had met. They are impeded by Cho Cheol-gang (Oh Man-seok), an evil State Security officer, who several years ago had arranged for the murder of Jeong-hyeok’s older brother, an officer who tried to expose him. The story eventually shifts to Seoul where both comedy and drama ensue for all four main characters, Se-ri’s family, and the arch-villain Cho Cheol-gang.
Son Ye Jin plays the wealthy heiress, Yoon Se Ri. She is a bit spoiled and high-maintenance, but she has a very kind heart as well as a bubbly personality. She does her best to adapt to her difficult circumstances, but she has a lot of challenges to face to get back home.
Bin is the North Korean officer Ri Jung Hyuk. He stumbles upon Se Ri and ends up taking her in and hiding her with the help of his men. He comes off a bit unconcerned at first, but he’s a very good man who goes to great lengths to protect Se Ri.
Crash Landing On You Review
We knew Crash Landing On You was going to be hit from the moment it was announced as it comes from the writer of popular dramas like My Love From Another Star, Producer, and Legend of the Blue Sea. We can usually expect good love stories from her, and Crash Landing On You was no different.
Now, I honestly didn’t love this drama to the extent that many people seemed to, but it was still a good watch for me. I liked the unique premise of a South Korean woman getting stranded in North Korea and being aided by a soldier. I always enjoy a little co-habitation hi-jinks too, and that’s what we get here.
The star-crossed romance between Jung Hyuk and Se Ri was an emotional one. We started with some cute bickering and then watched their feelings for each other grow. Son Ye Jin was very fun and lively here.
This is also easily one of my favourite Hyun Bin. He frequently plays characters that are a bit stoic, and this was no different, but Jung Hyuk had this sweet, softness to him that Hyun Bin nicely brought out. It made for a great character. I enjoyed this duo’s scenes together quite a bit.
We also had quite a few fun supporting characters with the other soldiers helping Se Ri as well as the North Korean townspeople. They added plenty of laughs to the drama as well as a nice helping of heart.
I sadly didn’t much care for our secondary leads of Seung Jun (Kim Jung Hyun) and Dan (Seo Ji Hye) though. Seung Jun was mildly amusing at times, but I didn’t like him, and Dan wasn’t particularly likeable
They also didn’t get a lot of screen time initially which didn’t allow me adequate time to connect with them. They do finally develop their stories later in the drama, but it was a bit too late for me.
I wasn’t feeling anything going on in South Korea either. Most of those characters were Se Ri’s family who was greedy and unlikable in general. Luckily, there wasn’t a lot of time spent there in the first half of the drama. SPOILERS: Of course, that changes when Se Ri, Jung Hyuk, and the soldiers make it down, and then we get a lot more time there. END OF SPOILERS
I think the biggest drawback for the series was the long episodes. They start long and just get longer as the series goes on. Multiple episodes are over one and a half hours with the finale clocking in at a whopping one hour and fifty-one minutes! I believe that’s the longest episode of a drama I have ever watched.
This all resulted in a lot of plot filler with the overall pacing suffering as a whole. We do get a fair amount of fluff too. While the story itself was quite good, it felt like the plot sort of moseyed along. For a while, we just go several rounds of Se Ri attempting and failing at returning to South Korea.
SPOILERS: Then when Se Ri finally makes it back to South Korea, we still had a lot of the series left, and I felt the show lost a lot of steam despite some decent plot developments towards the end of the drama. The highlight during this time for me was our lovable crew of soldiers adjusting to life in Seoul. It provided some great humour as well as some very endearing moments. END OF SPOILERS
These things probably won’t be an issue for you though if you fall in love with all of the characters, the atmosphere in the drama, the excellent overall production, and the epic romance at its heart.
Crash Landing On You had a good mix of romance and humour along with the more serious plot of Se Ri in hiding and constantly at risk of being discovered. There’s a big baddie out to get her and Jung Hyuk who causes plenty of trouble too.
At about that third of the way through the mark, we start to have some big relationship developments happen between Jung Hyuk and Se Ri. Their relationship was the focal point of the drama, so this was a great thing.
Lots of emotions become involved as they face the difficulties of their situation and a love that seems impossible. Some wonderful scenes showcase their star-crossed love and raw emotions combined with an excellent soundtrack to enhance everything.
While it had its issues for me, there was plenty to enjoy with Crash Landing On You. With a grand romance and plenty of swoon-worthy moments, there are lots of feels to be had as well a fairly unique plot. It received an immense amount of love from fans, so those who are considering it should give it a look.