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Daily Helping for March 11th, 2021 – Crash Landing on You

A promotional photo for the TV show Crash Landing on You featuring lead actors Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin.

I told you there would be more Kdramas in my future. Crash Landing on You came to me through a rec, and it was even better than my last foray into this magical world of entertainment. Part of this was because I somehow managed to fall in love even harder than last time with all of the characters. To be honest, I didn’t even know that was possible, but here we are. However, what really made this show so interesting was that it offers a glimpse into a world that very few people have seen. This is because well over half of this show takes place in North Korea.

In a nutshell, Crash Landing on You is about a South Korean businesswoman and heiress, Se-Ri, who is blown into North Korea during a paragliding accident. She is found by Captain Ri of the North Korean military, who must keep her safe from government officials and return her home. Of course, the plot is way more complicated than that, filled with family drama, betrayals, government conspiracies, assassinations, and political intrigue. But the heart of this story is the sprawling cast of characters and how their lives intersect in often heartbreaking ways. I was warned that Kdramas are all about emotions, and this show did not disappoint in that department.

The two leads, played by Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin, are incredible. Se-Ri could have so easily been a thoroughly unlikeable lead character, but instead she’s given layers upon layers of complexity and growth. She’s easily one of the most interesting female characters I’ve watched in a long time, and Son Ye-jin plays her perfectly. And then there’s Captain Ri, with his chiseled good looks that every single other character keeps commenting on in ever hysterical ways. This is yet another character who could have so easily been one dimensional, but is anything but, and Hyun Bin is fantastic in the role.

And then there’s all the secondary characters. Crash Landing on You has a big cast, but not a single one feels superfluous or irrelevant. They are all richly drawn, with distinct narratives and story arcs, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with them all. Even the ones I hated at first had me crying by the end. In particular, the four men who make up Captain Ri’s unit are incredible. At times they are the comic relief, while other times they are responsible for some of the show’s most poignant moments. And in one particularly inspired plot point, one of them is obsessed with South Korean TV dramas, meaning he is constantly commenting on what “should” be happening around him throughout the show. It was a delightfully meta twist that I thoroughly enjoyed.

But my favourite part by far was the fact that so much of the plot that takes place in North Korea. I looked it up afterwards, and apparently the screenwriters used North Korean defectors as consultants to make sure that they were depicting life in that country accurately. Meaning, you actually get a glimpse into one of the most secluded countries in the world. It was a fascinating backdrop for an emotionally rich story, and I loved every second of it. Even though I knew by the first episode that the ending would be bittersweet, I was all in. I absolutely loved this show.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!