“We’re Not In Kansas Anymore”
TVN’s new weekend drama (also streaming on Netflix) has an absolutely bizarre premise. Crash Landing On You sees a South Korean woman stuck in North Korea because of a paragliding accident. While we know that the two main characters are most likely going to fall in love, the unusual setting of North Korea adds an original spin on this age-old tale. The first episode presents us with an introduction to all our characters and gives enough drama, suspense and humour to make it quite the decent first installment.
We begin with an aerial shot of Korea showing both sides of the country as we follow an eagle, eventually leading us to Seoul. Famous fashion CEO Yoon Se-Ri is photographed with a man while her PR team discuss the implications of it. As she leaves the building, she gets a call from her older brother, Yoon Se-Hyung, who reveals that their father has just been released from prison.
We then cut to Chairman Yoon, with his two sons and their wives having dinner together. While both brothers argue over who deserves to inherit the company more, their father demands to know where Se-Ri is. It’s here that she arrives to greet her father but tells her she is not staying. Before she leaves, he tells her that she’s the one he wants to take over the company as he has been watching her over the last 10 years. She accepts the offer, much to the annoyance of her brothers and mentions she’ll be making some changes when it comes to the different CEOs (which are actually her brothers).
The next day, Se-Ri decides to go paragliding given it’s one of her passions. After being in the air for a while, a tornado suddenly forms, causing Se-Ri to spin out of control. We then cut to soldiers, led by Captain Ri Jung-Ryeok, driving from the northern side of demilitarized zone to go patrolling. They come face to face with soldiers from the south as they have caught grave robbers. Just as both sides are about to come to blows, they each get the order to stand down.
Back at the border, Jung-Ryeok reports to his superior about his findings and believes the captives should be punished. However the leader replies that they had permission from the state security department and therefore should be lenient.
The next day, the heiress wakes up hanging from a tree and starts calling for help when she realizes how high she is. This gets the attention of Jung-Ryeok who quickly finds her. Seeing his gun and medals, she unbuckles herself and crash lands on him. As fate would have it, she thinks he’s the one who has trespassed but he’s quick to tell her the truth; she’s actually in North Korea and she has to be taken in for investigation. She refuses, believing she can run back through the border. Unfortunately Captain Ri steps on a mine and, unable to move, has no choice but to let her go.
While another soldier helps him free, Captain Ri tells him to alert the troops about a South Korean woman who has accidentally crossed the border. The 6th company quickly find her and start chasing but they stop in their tracks when they see her running through a minefield. After managing to get out of it unscathed, she desperately runs past miles of barbed wire trying to find an exit to South Korea.
Back in Seoul, Se-Ru’s family find out that Se-Ri is missing which pleases her brothers and their wives. We then flashback to the day of the dinner where Se-Ri’s mother asked her to leave and not to accept her father’s offer. Back in the present, Yoon Se-Hyeong’s wife tells him not to miss the recent opportunity as he still needs to find Gu Seung-jun who has run away with his money.
In China, Gu Seung-Jun talks with Mr Oh about hiding from Se-Hyeong and wonders if he’ll find him easily. Mr Oh then suggests a different place while Captain Ri’s superior speaks with the three robbers as we see he was their accomplice. The three men are then taken away in a truck, suddenly pushed off the road, down a ravine and exploding as they hit the bottom.
After walking for miles, Se-Ri sees a village and feels relieved as she thinks she’s back home. However, as she watches their way of life and strict morning routine, she soon realizes she’s wrong. Just as the leader drives in, Captain Ri arrives in time to take her somewhere safe which is where we leave the episode.
Crash Landing On You has quite the decent start, building the story and world nicely whilst setting the scene for what’s to come ahead. Like other Korean dramas, it does manage to blend drama, suspense and romance quite well already and I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s episode.
It’s worth noting that the cinematography was quite impressive in the beginning of the episode as we follow an eagle, showing us an aerial view of the vast landscape for both sides of Korea. The main actors have delivered some good performances too and for those who have watched Memories of the Alhambra, Captain Ri, played by Hyun Bin, is likely to be familiar given he played the role of lead protagonist in that fantasy drama – let’s hope this one doesn’t share the same disappointing fate!
I’m guessing Se-Ri will probably hide and pretend to be from North Korea with the help of Captain Ri going forward. This promises to offer up a good balance of humour and tension as she tries to go back to her country. Netflix has certainly doubled their efforts to show a lot more Korean dramas and this is another welcome addition. Quite where this one is likely to go next though, remains to be seen.