Crash Landing on You’s finale broke the record for the highest ratings that were previously held by the 2017 K-drama, Goblin: The Lonely and Great God.  With its stellar cast and riveting storyline, it is no surprise that this K-drama has brought in a huge audience.

Even with its high ratings, the drama was criticized for romanticizing North Korea. However, the story is more about a romance that happened to begin in North Korea. The writers are careful not to make wide generalizations about the people there but still depict the hardships of their lives due to their government. Additionally, the second half of the story largely takes place in South Korea. That is not to say that the current political climate is not relevant since this is the main reason as to why Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) and Ri Jung-hyuk (Hyun Bin) cannot be together.  The show is filled with action, drama, comedy, and romance making a perfect balance of a variety of genres. On top of the love story, the show tackles depression and the importance of having a supportive family.

Crash Landing on You is a modern day Romeo and Juliet story set in both North Korea and South Korea. While in the first part of the season, we watched the couple fall in love in a country setting in North Korea, the second half deals with the fantasy they wish they could live if there was not any politics keeping them apart. After finally solving the mystery behind Jung-hyuk’s brother’s death and getting Se-ri back to South Korea, it almost looked like the story was over. However, the two villains of the story are even more determined, prompting Jung-hyuk to risk his life by secretly going to South Korea. To bring him back, Jung-hyuk’s father sends the members of his troops on a secret mission to South Korea. 

Se-ri gets a chance to repay back Jung-hyuk’s hospitality by welcoming him into her home where they temporarily live as a happy couple. At times, it almost seems like they can get away with this forever as Se-ri has the money to support Jung-hyuk and keep him hidden. However, due to the villains of the story, their romance begins to unravel and they both have to deal with the reality of the situation. Throughout the K-drama, they say good-bye to each other several times but somehow they always end up finding their way back to each other. The story plays with the uncertainty of their relationship by pushing them and pulling them apart over and over throughout the story. Its that back and forth, and Jung-hyuk’s and Se-ri’s dedication to each other keeps the audience captivated.

On top of telling a love story, Crash Landing on You also explores depression and the importance of having a supportive family. Due to Se-ri’s background, it is clear why she falls in love with Jung-hyuk. Although the story does not elaborate on it, Se-ri is the illegitimate daughter of a corporate millionaire. She grew up with two half brothers and a step-mother who all had great disdain for her. One of the biggest villains of the story is Se-ri’s own half-brother who first tries to keep her in North Korea and then is willing to put her life in danger. As rich and successful as Se-ri was, she was depressed and even sought to take her own life at one point.

Jung-hyuk is a dedicated soldier who takes part in his community, has supportive parents, and leads a loyal squad. Right away he becomes protective of Se-ri and tends to her needs and requests despite how frivolous they may be. Se-ri quickly becomes part of his life and becomes friends both with his troops and his neighbors making her part of a community like never before.

Although it almost seems unnecessary to follow up on these characters, Goo Seung-joon (Kim Jung-hyun) and Seo Dan (Seo Ji-Hye) fall in love with each other. Seung-joon and Dan find comfort in each other after both being rejected by their partners. In the first part, both of their characters seem dull and represented logical choices in the story. However, bringing them together brought out more of their personalities and created another love story with the odds against them. Due to their budding relationship, Dan is able to understand what love really means which prompts her to stop pursuing Jung-hyuk. Although the K-drama fails to elaborate on it, we also find out how Seung-joon’s lost his parents which is something Dan can relate to. Dan and he connect to each other through their tragedies and find a love neither of them thought they could have.

As expected, Crash Landing on You has a bittersweet ending. Justice is served but it still stands that Se-ri can never see the friends she has made in North Korea nor return back to where she met Jung-hyuk. However, through the incidents that occur, she is able to repair her relationship with her step-mother as well as coming to terms with one of her brothers. Without spoiling the actual ending, the main couple stays optimistic about their relationship hoping that they are meant to meet again.

(Naver [1] [2], images via tvN.)