“How to move on? I will never get over Crash Landing On You!”
“Guys, here’s a silly video of Hyun-Bin–proof that he’s an actual human being with flaws. I’m addicted!”
“At a coffee shop earlier and I overheard a bunch of titas discussing Crash Landing On You. LOL.”
“What is this CLOY and how do I get a hold of episodes? Can I marathon it in a day?”
“First time ever to watch a Koreanovela and I am enjoying it too much!”
“Sigh, why does it have to end? #CLOY”
These are real statements I’ve heard and read in the past two months. Whether online or offline, people can’t stop talking about Netflix’s Korean drama smash hit: Crash Landing On You, which revolves around Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-Jin), a rising South Korean business mogul who ends up in North Korea after a paragliding accident. There, she meets the honorable Ri Jeong Hyeok (Hyun-Bin), a military captain who decides to help her despite the dangers of doing so.
The Beardict: 8.75 out of 10. Crash Landing On You deserves all the hype as it goes beyond the usual romance offering of a K-drama. With a compelling plot, high production value, and the uncanny chemistry of Hyun-Bin and Son Ye-Jin that makes you “kilig” even if you don’t particularly like cheesy scenes, the series is able to mix nuggets of fantasy and reality and transform them into one fulfilling watch. Looking for something to binge? It is Seri-ously the only Choice. 🙂
It’s no surprise that it’s the #1 show in Netflix PH right now, and we’re here to discuss why everyone from your barkada to your mother wants to get in the action. Hapsida!
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
#1 Easily-digestible title and premise. Ever been asked to describe your favorite show before and you struggled to answer in just a few sentences? Well, for Crash Landing On You, it’s pretty easy: Girl crash lands on guy (quite literally), then sparks fly. There’s only one problem: their countries are sworn enemies. See? It’s a modern day version of Romeo and Juliet, only happier. Haha. The premise is already interesting at the onset, so you naturally become curious about how it plays out. You start the first episode and before you know it, you’re extremely invested that you spend all your extra time (and sometimes sacrifice sleep, admit it) to join Yoon Se-ri, Ri Jeong Hyeok, and their crazy supporting cast in their adventures.
#2 Full-blown cultural phenomenon. Because of an overwhelming amount of social media posts and positive word of mouth, watching Crash Landing On You has become a cool thing to do, or at least expected if you pride yourself in keeping up with pop culture. Extreme curiosity and The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) are in full effect, and even those who have never watched a K-drama in their lives are giving it a shot. Brands are creating content connected to the show to be relevant, super fans are watching it every weekend (true story), and as I’m typing this review, I can actually hear my Dad from the living room just finishing another episode. What’s good about #CLOY is that full-fledged K-drama fans seem to be supporting this bandwagon (or are at least neutral about it), unlike toxic fandoms (*cough* Star Wars *cough*) that look down on more casual viewers.
#3 Compatibility of leads. On their own, Hyun-Bin and Son Ye-Jin are quite attractive already. When you put them together, an explosion of good looks and chemistry is created. We laugh when Se-ri is in a playful mood and Jeong Hyeok acts all innocent with his puppy dog eyes, and we cry with them whenever they say goodbye to each other (even if it’s already for the nth time). They’re so effective as a tandem that they’ve been repeatedly rumored to be dating in real life, even though they have both denied this. Fans can dream, right? If you want more of them, give The Negotiation (2018) a try, where Son Ye-Jin is described as an “ace crisis negotiator” who goes up against Hyun-Bin’s “cold-blooded hostage taker.”
#4 Excellent banter and humor. It’s not just the leads who are fun to watch in Crash Landing On You. A lot of comedy comes from Seo Dan’s side of the family–her mother Ko Myeong-Eun (played by Jang Hye-Jin, whom you probably last saw in the Academy-Award Winner Parasite) and her uncle Ko Myeong-Seok (Park Myoung-Hoon, also in Parasite as the RESPECT! guy) are a riot together. The fun-loving nature of the members of Captain Ri’s Company Five makes the mood of the show significantly lighter even though lives are in danger in every episode.
#5 Aspirational aspect. Although I recommend Crash Landing On You to all the genders out there, I understand why majority of my friends who watch it are women. I can’t count how many phones I’ve seen with a Hyun-Bin/Ri Jeong Hyeok wallpaper. Haha. This is because Yoon Se-ri is an aspirational character. She is both book and street smart, so would-be opportunists can’t fool her. She comes from a wealthy family but succeeds on her own by building a global company named after her (Se-ri’s Choice is such a clever name), dresses like a celebrity, and has a beauty regimen of an influencer. She’s a boss lady full of confidence who’s not afraid to date despite what people say behind her back.
So is Yoon Se-ri a Mary Sue type of character, meaning someone written by the scriptwriter to be the perfect heroine? No, far from it, actually. Part of what makes her interesting and relatable are her flaws. She’s really stubborn at times and has deep trust issues because of her family.
However, when she meets the dashing Captain Ri, her life is changed forever, and in a very positive way. Se-ri was a complete person before him, but their encounter and eventual relationship helped her grow even more, so much so that she was able to expose that vulnerable side of her, leading to more fruitful relationships with friends and family members. It’s not one way though. Because of Se-ri’s love, Jeong Hyeok allowed himself to feel like a human being again, something he avoided doing ever since the death of his brother, Ri Mu Hyeok.
At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to have this kind of life, and this kind of effect on loved ones? Well, it took getting stranded in North Korea, but you get what I mean.
#6 Against all odds with high stakes and a well-developed universe. Crash Landing On You is a big hit here because Filipinos are just suckers for impossible scenarios, especially if there’s a love story in it. Se-ri and Jeong Hyeok’s relationship chances are next to nil, and yet we hang on to every development that may lead to a happy ending. The show’s backdrop is also the ancient conflict between North and South Korea, which makes the plot more serious compared to other K-dramas which are just contained in one city. The cast of characters is huge, and the power struggle that goes on in both the North and the South is portrayed very well. Game of Thrones (Seasons 1-4), anyone?
#7 High production value. I couldn’t find the exact budget of Crash Landing On You, but you know they didn’t scrimp on spending because even the scenes featuring Korean fried chicken were divine. Aside from filming in South Korea, they also went to Mongolia to shoot the impromptu camping scene of Jeong Hyeok and Se-ri on the way to Pyongyang. Of course, who can forget the flashbacks showing dreamy Switzerland, now the top destination choice of just about every CLOY fan? Se-ri’s fashionable outfits garnered so much attention that articles were written detailing the items she wore in the show, complete with prices. Regular K-dramas usually have a bit of action, but CLOY brings it up a notch by having a car and motorcycle shootout capped off by an explosion. Clearly, Studio Dragon and Netflix brought out the big guns and didn’t want to disappoint.
#8 Attention given to side characters. Crash Landing On You is primarily Yoon Se-ri and Ri Jeong Hyeok’s story, but tackling characters that surround them is one of the things that this K-drama really excels at. My personal favorite is actually Jung Man-Bok (Kim Young-Min), the military “rat” who starts off as Cho Cheol-Gang’s pawn but ends up as a staunch ally of our couple. He’s just a simple man who wants to be a good father and husband, but circumstances led him to do unsavory things. His redemption arc was quite satisfying to watch, as he was able to gain friends (Company Five) and redeem himself for past mistakes, even attempting to shield Captain Ri when they were about to be executed. What can I say? I like it when good people are rewarded.
#9 Quotes that make you think. Unfortunately, I can’t speak Korean yet (emphasis on yet, because learning it is part of my bucket list. Yay!), but based on the subtitles, Crash Landing On You is a gold mine for words of wisdom. I can still remember how Jeong Hyeok and Se-ri beautifully fleshed out the difference between destiny and coincidence. However, one of my favorite quotes is from Seo Dan (So Ji-Hye) when she and Gu Seung-Jung (Kim Jung-Hyun) were talking on the rooftop: “When it comes to money, your initial position also matters. Money comes only when you ignore it and look down on it. If you cling to it and follow it around, it will just run away from you waiting for you to catch it.”
#10 Not all about romantic love. A friend told me that what she likes about Crash Landing On You is the fact that there are other things going on aside from Jeong Hyeok and Se-ri’s relationship. That’s quite true, as it explores themes such as the power of friendship, the complexities of family ties, and the importance of loyalty to country. Border tensions and culture differences between North and South Korea were front and center, and even though CLOY is from South Korean creators, the show’s perspective doesn’t seem biased at all. Both sides feature good and bad forces, and it reminds us that a country does not dictate the decency and traits of a person.
#11 Good dose of escapism. Escapism usually has a negative connotation because others equate it as refusing to face reality. However, with everything that’s going on (especially with the ongoing health crisis) and the media focusing on gloom and doom scenarios, having something like Crash Landing On You that can fill you with warmth and happy thoughts becomes an absolute necessity. Sure, it’s a fictional story, but it’s one with substance that gives us valuable lessons that we can apply in real life.
#12 Almost perfect show. I say almost perfect because we have to acknowledge some improvement points. Hear me out before you violently react! Haha. While I enjoyed the run a lot, I feel like it was one episode too long, as not a lot of things happened in the finale (the energy peaked during Episodes 13-14). As effective as Oh Man-Seok was as the nefarious Cho Cheol-Gang, the show did not spend time in developing his backstory. He appeared in almost every episode but his time as a street rat during his younger days and his supposed friendship with Ri Mu Hyeok were not explored, things which could have added more depth to his character and provided reasons for his lust for power.
All in all, Crash Landing On You raises the bar for future K-dramas and romance-oriented TV shows. Philippine television can learn a lot from it, but for the love of everything good, do not make a local adaptation. Haha. There is only one #CLOY, and I “stan” it completely.
Photos courtesy of Netflix. To stream Crash Landing On You and other entertaining content, visit www.netflix.com to sign up!