Every weekend, K-drama addicts all over the world eagerly anticipated this Korean drama. Crash Landing On You captured the hearts of so many romance-loving viewers all over the world, and with the 110-minute finale last weekend, everyone was pretty much swooning. But while we certainly enjoyed this show so much, there’s at least one bump in the road that we wish were only a dream. Here are the things we loved about Korean drama Crash Landing on You — and the one thing we didn’t.
Warning: Major spoilers alert!
✔ Son Ye Jin ♡ Hyun Bin
First of all, thank you to the casting team for bringing these two adorable cinnamon rolls together, and Crash Landing on You definitely scored big with two of the biggest stars of K-dramaland.
Hyun Bin is known for his leading roles in My Name is Kim Sam-Soon (2005), Secret Garden (2010–2011), and Memories of the Alhambra (2018–2019), all highly successful dramas in their own right. Meanwhile, Son Ye Jin, considered the melo queen of K-dramas, is known for her versatility in diverse acting roles in dramas like Summer Scent (2003), Personal Taste (2010), and Something in the Rain (2018).
And when you put these two together? The chemistry is off the charts! The RiRi couple, as fans fondly call the pair (Yoon Se Ri + Ri Jeong Hyeok), only need to look at each other to make us soooooooo kilig. We want more of them together. Please.
✔ An amazing cast overall
Honestly, while the main leads are certainly smashing their performance, it doesn’t mean the rest of the cast isn’t. In fact, they can actually keep up. Seo Ji Hye’s Seo Dan and Kim Jung Hyun’s Gu Seung Joon may have been a love story we didn’t expect to flourish so well, but their adorably awkward interactions are so relatable that we want to see them on screen as much as the RiRi couple.
Even the soldiers under Captain Ri’s command are hilariously adorable. K-drama loving, broody and mysterious, dumb but caring, and sweet babie™ (I’m sure you know who is who) — they might fall under certain stereotypes, but they pull off those stereotypes so well that we don’t even care that they’re stereotyped.
The ahjummas in the North Korean village, Seo Dan’s mother and uncle (both also from Parasite!), Se-Ri’s complicated AF family — we could go on and on and on about how good they all are, but we’d probably exceed the 8List format.
✔ Consulting the right sources
This show has been praised for being the most accurate so far in its depiction of North Korea. “About 60% of how North Korea is portrayed in the show is actually accurate,” said North Korean defector Kang Nara.
Who speaks the best North Korean accent in #CrashLandingOnYou? Mr Kwak, one of the writers who defected from North Korea 15 years ago, picks Hyun Bin and Kim Jung-nan (Ma Young-ae) pic.twitter.com/4sFgvbaQKA
— Subin Kim (@SubinBKim) February 14, 2020
Of course, there are definitely still a lot of elements that are more fantasy than reality, sparking debate among some members of the South Korean audience. But the team behind Crash Landing On You made a lot of effort in their research, and they went as far as consulting many North Korean defectors to be as accurate in their depiction as they can. In fact, one of the writers involved in the production is North Korean defector Kwak Mun-An. And even actress Kim A-Ra, also a North Korean defector, who played a villager, said “I felt like I was actually back in a North Korean village.”
✔ Fanservice kilig + actual plot
Despite the heaviness of the North and South divide looming over the show, Crash Landing on You found the right balance between fanservice kilig and actual plot. Viewers got the cliche kilig scenes they crave for, but the plot still moves forward. Even if it’s just Se-Ri repeatedly failing to get home. And when she eventually does? We get a whole lot of push and pull between the RiRi couple as they navigate Seoul and enjoy their brief time together while attempting to catch their enemy and trying not to die.
✔ Touching on sociopolitical themes, despite how subtle it is
One of the most interesting things about Crash Landing On You, besides the romance of course, is the contrast between two opposing beliefs: capitalism and socialism. Often not touched in K-dramas, the sociopolitical themes, albeit still not thoroughly discussed, is shown in the character of Yoon Se-Ri. She’s a powerful self-made businesswoman, about to inherit a large conglomerate, a.k.a. the very picture of capitalism. But then, due to an unfortunate accident, she ends up stranded and left alone to fend for herself in North Korea, where the living standards are so vastly different from what she’s used to.
✔ Tropes done refreshingly well
I’ve mentioned how there’s a lot of stereotypes in this drama — case in point: the soldiers under Captain Ri’s command. And maybe a lot of viewers are sick and tired of cliches, especially viewers in K-dramaland. But you know what? Tropes aren’t always bad! In fact, when they’re executed really well, it becomes so much better because the audience can actually relate. And that’s exactly what Crash Landing On You does, albeit set in a slightly unrealistic universe. The show gives its audience cliches, but cliches executed in such a way that viewers wouldn’t expect. This is depicted well by how Crash Landing On You utilizes the mini epilogues that present a fresh perspective on what just happened, bringing more charm to the characters and their stories.
✔ (Somewhat) realistic ending
One of the biggest questions of Crash Landing On You was how the story of Yoon Se-Ri and Ri Jeong-Hyeok was going to wrap up. Will they have a happy ending together? Can they even be together, what with the North v South conflict? Or will this show just leave us hanging?
Fortunately, the show didn’t disappoint us in terms of the story of the main leads. They had to go back to their respective places eventually — Se-Ri down South and Jeong-Hyeok up North — and they had to be separated for so many years. Se-Ri couldn’t return to the North because she’d probably just be persecuted, or even executed, while Jeong-Hyeok couldn’t defect to the South because his family would be branded traitors and subsequently executed, given that his father holds a high position in the military.
But the writers of Crash Landing On You probably knew they’d have a mob in their hands if the RiRi couple didn’t have a happy ending. So they settled with the next best thing. Even if they were separated for years, the two leads found each other eventually in a place where they both could go and love each other without repercussions, a.k.a. Switzerland, where they first unknowingly met. And even if they only spend two weeks of the year together, then that’s okay. They’re still together.
✘ The injustice of that one part of the finale
Confession time: I actually had a hard time getting past the first episode. The story needed to be set up, sure, but it took about three-fourths of the first episode before we got to the actual interesting parts. But then again, almost every K-drama suffers from this unfortunate syndrome. So fine, that’s forgivable. The rest of the show made up for it anyway.
Except for one teeny-tiny detail (but not really, it’s definitely a big deal) — the love story of Seo Dan and Gu Seung-Jung. We just want to ask the showrunners: why did you make them fall in love if you’re just going to kill one of them anyway? I know the angst genre exists for a reason, but these two didn’t deserve this heartbreaking storyline. They just wanted to love each other freely and unapologetically. Why are you breaking their hearts and ours?????
“I was wrong. When I die, there is someone who will cry for me. The fact that you are that person makes me sad and happy.” 😭😭😭😭 LET SEO DAN BE HAPPY!!!
•#SeoJiHye #KimJungHyun #CrashLandingOnYou #CLOY pic.twitter.com/xxyRULTudj
— ddoboja • 또 보자! (@ddo_boja) February 16, 2020
We’re still crying. Why must our favorite second lead couples hurt us like this?
The holy trinity of second couple syndrome:
Crash Landing On You (Seo Dan x Seung Jun)
Goblin (Grim Reaper x Sunny)
Descendants of the Sun (Myeong Joo x Dae-Young) pic.twitter.com/UUk6MtFnIX
— ɾìҽ 🍒 (@lumierehun) February 17, 2020
Well, at least, our RiRi couple got their much-deserved happy ending. #Blessed.
What else did you love about Crash Landing On You? Did you dislike anything about the show? Tell us below!
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