This is a field similar to the one in "Crash Landing on You" at the border of North and South Korea.
Geoff Henson

Some shows are just so overwhelmingly good in the beginning, that when they end, they cause an upset.

There is a lot of uncertainty currently because of the Coronavirus pandemic but one thing that remains true is: good TV is good TV. And incidentally, because of the advise of medical professionals to maintain social distancing, this is the perfect time to binge and binge well. The right show, has the power to elevate the stress and anxiety from current affairs and distract you momentarily. So if you are going to binge, you might as well watch a sweet story, in particular, “Crash Landing on You.” It’s almost a perfect series.

Some shows are just so overwhelmingly good in the beginning, that when they end, they cause an upset. “Crash Landing on You,” is one of those shows that is just so generally warm that it’s quite remarkable given how bleak the plot actually starts. The story follows Yoon Se-Ri (Son Ye-Jin), the CEO of a beauty conglomerate and heiress to her family’s multimillion dollar empire. Her life was just beginning to pick up; she’d just been told by her family that she would be confirmed as the CEO of the family business when she was caught in a paragliding accident when a tornado hit mid flight. One minute she was literally on top of the world, then she woke up in North Korea, confused and scared until Captain Ri Jeong-Hyeok (Hyun-Bin) decided to help her along with his subordinates. They tried fervently to get her back to the south but Cho Cheol-Gang (Oh Man-Seok), a North Korean official with a criminal background stood as the primarily problem, making things difficult for Captain Ri’s team. The worst of the chaos though, comes from the duplicitous actions of her greedy siblings who wanted to ensure that she wouldn’t return to the south to be announced as the CEO. To save her, Captain Ri had to lie about her identify and claim that she was his fiance and a secret agent from the South. Things were smooth until Captain Ri’s fiance Seo Dan (Seo Ji-Hye), from his arranged marriage and Se-Ri’s former prospective suitor Gu Seung-Jung (Kim Jung-Hyun), came into the picture.

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The genius of “Crash Landing on You” is entirely owed to the brilliant writing of Park Ji-Eun and direction of Lee Jung-Hyo. The story development and character arches are satisfyingly thoughtful and tight. The acting is sincere, cinematography beautiful, and the use of music was so smooth and inviting, it’s actually shocking how much the story draws you in. And so, it’s obviously apparent that every part of this project was completed with care and attention. One example of this is how masterfully Eun weaves in topics about societal status, poverty, abuse of power and even feminism in such a seamless way. Simply look at how Se-Ri, has a great sense of humour and is very playful but she is also quite skilled in business, carefree (given her dating history), and tenacious. Similarly, Seo Dan is a fantastically assertive female lead with so much power in her characterization that she’s inspiring.

The awareness given to tender scenes is also touching. Take for instance Gu Seung-Jung’s escape scene in the local market where he was shielded by homeless children. The kids knew that if they stood as a barrier between him and his kidnappers, they would be ignored. In fact, they drove that lesson in more by entreating the help of anyone who passed by them and yet everyone looked away. So the exchange between Gu and the kids, where he recognized how adults have failed the children and also failed him in the past was extremely sad and sobering. Just as powerful, the fact that Seo Dan is intentional about staying single and that her mother encourages her to do so without folding to society pressure about how a woman should behave is exhilarating. Gu’s writing cleverly provides a relief with a comfortable romantic story, while simultaneous forces people to imagine how the world could be. This initiative is demonstrated often when Se-Ri humorously wishes for the reunification of the two Korean nations. So as a whole, the show is basically perfect.

Still, the only failing has to be the ending. Like other great epics it’s difficult to come up with an ending that provides a closure to viewers while also staying true to the natural progression of a story. In this area, “Crash Landing on You” crashed and burned (haha). It was so disappointing to discover that despite finally removing the barriers keeping them apart, Se-Ri and Captain Ri, still uphold an unnecessary distance. It cuts even deeper to imagine that Captain Ri may be the cause of this chasm. Just as well, it’s likely dramatically more upsetting since the leads were overly sappy and passionate towards one another— so much so it excites feels of nausea and causes you to cringe. It’s like going through a marathon only to have a single stranger at the end to greet you when you were expecting a crowd of familiar faces. Remember how you felt when you finally watched the ending of Game of Thrones and realized how trash it was? Unfortunately, the ending of “Crash Landing on You” disappoints in the same way but don’t worry apart from literally the very last episode, the show is basically a masterpiece.

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