Crash Landing on You: Episode 2
Our brave heroine has gotten herself in quite a sticky situation, but thankfully, she’s quick and resourceful and soon manages to gain a little bit of control. We learn that the handsome captain has a very big secret, though it’s unclear whether that will help or hinder the plans to get the lost lady home.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Se-ri narrates that at her first birthday party, instead of choosing one of the traditional items intended to represent her future, she had grabbed her father’s hand. Ever since, she had always made the right choices, and had even named her company “Se-ri’s Choice.”
But when she’s stuck inside the DMZ after having chosen not to trust the directions of a North Korean she just met, her luck fails her. After walking all night, she finds herself in a North Korean village. She needs someone on her side, so when Jung-hyuk saves her from being run over by a military vehicle, she plays the damsel in distress.
She’s sure that her simpering is winning him over, while in actuality, Jung-hyuk is pondering whether or not to just kill her, ha. Ultimately he takes her to his house, where he makes her ramyun from scratch. Se-ri is worried that he put something in her food, so she pretends that in South Korea, the guest offers their host the first bite of food in an attempt to get Jung-hyuk to eat it first.
He just gives her that deadpan Do I look like an idiot to you? stare of his, but he agrees that it would be ridiculous to trust a complete stranger in this situation — especially one who tells such an outlandish story about why they’re in the DMZ, lol.
Se-ri tries to convince Jung-hyuk that she’s super famous in South Korea, though she still doesn’t want to tell him her name. She says it’s so he doesn’t look her up online and get a shock, but Jung-hyuk says they don’t even have internet.
She’s positive that everyone back home must be frantic about her disappearance, but in truth, her family is still keeping it out of the media. Her father, Chairman Yoon, wants to hire private professionals and do their own search, although Se-ri’s brothers would prefer she stay gone so that one of them can take over Queens Corp., the family company.
Se-ri tells Jung-hyuk to take good care of her, and that when she gets home she’ll make sure he’s handsomely rewarded. Jung-hyuk just says he’s not interested, ha. Chi-soo, one of Jung-hyuk’s squadron, knocks on Jung-hyuk’s gate to give him the good news that the missing South Korean woman they found is dead. He says there was an accident at Mount Suseok and that one of the deceased was a woman, and he assumes it must have been her.
He’s relieved that they won’t all get in trouble for allowing her to escape even listing the squad’s mistakes in detail — Eun-dong was crying over his mother’s letter, Joo-mok was watching forbidden a South Korean drama, he himself had been drinking, and Jung-hyuk could have caught her but stepped on a land mine. He looks up to see Se-ri leaning casually on the door frame, having heard every word… oops.
They go inside, where Chi-soo and Se-ri bicker over whether or not she’s a spy (it’s hilarious how Se-ri talks to Chi-soo like he’s just a little bit slow). Poor Jung-hyuk just makes a face like the kids are giving him a migraine. HAHA, the rest of the squadron show up to tell Jung-hyuk the “good” news, but Se-ri shocks them by being alive. She figures out right away who is who and what they each did. Joo-mok gets the stink-eye from the others when he gets excited to hear that Se-ri knows the stars of Stairway to Heaven, lol.
Se-ri takes control right away, telling Jung-hyuk and his ducklings to just take her to the spot where she landed, and she’ll get home from there. Chi-soo is all for letting her fry herself on the repaired electric fence, but Jung-hyuk explains that since they concluded their two months of duty, they can’t re-enter the area for a while. Se-ri says there must be another way, and when Chi-soo quips that burying her would be pretty easy, Se-ri offers to introduce him to South Korean-style cursing, ha.
She asks why they haven’t just taken her to the State Security Department they keep mentioning, and from their sheepish expressions, she figures out that they’re scared she’ll tattle on them. Joo-mok says that his uncle makes “boat-to-boat” runs, where boats from different countries meet in international waters, and that his next run is in three days.
Se-ri whines that she has an important shareholder’s meeting, but Jung-hyuk snaps that she’s the one who went the wrong way, so she should be more apologetic about causing them so much trouble. He says he can take her to the SSD right now (awww, all the boys look upset, even Chi-soo), or she can wait three days, but if she stays, she has to do exactly as they say.
He lays out the rules: She can’t leave the house, she can’t spread her South Korean beliefs to any of them, and once she gets home, she’s not allowed to tell anyone what happened here. Se-ri promises that she’ll suffer a convenient bout of amnesia as soon as she returns to South Korea, and Joo-mok (the expert on such things due to his drama-watching) confirms that South Koreans get amnesia all the time, PFFT.
Se-ri’s most outlandish claim is that she’s used to eating meat with at least two meals a day, and Chi-soo accuses her of telling whoppers to trick them. Se-ri pretends to be oh-so-weak since she hasn’t eaten much, batting her eyes at Jung-hyuk for meat.
Back home, Secretary Hong meets with Soo-chan, an insurance salesman he recently introduced to Se-ri. Soo-chan is giddy over having signed a contract with Se-ri’s company, and he even brags that he’s been purposely antagonizing his annoying boss because he’s such a star at work. Secretary Hong informs Soo-chan that Se-ri is missing, and Soo-chan goes white as a sheet. He heads to church to pray for Se-ri’s safe return home, while Hye-ji, who’s also there, prays for the exact opposite, hee.
In the village, the women salt their cabbage harvest to prepare it to be made into kimchi by dipping it into sea water. The senior colonel’s wife and unofficial leader of the village wives, YOUNG-AE (Kim Jung-nan), notes that today is the day handsome Captain Ri Jung-hyuk, a particular favorite of theirs, returns home. The other ladies confirm that they’ve made sure his house is ready and there’s plenty of food stocked.
They’ve even packed meat in the salt crock, and food for side dishes in the kimchi cellar. Se-ri is fascinated, having never seen a kimchi cellar before, but Jung-hyuk shushes her before conversation veers too close to discussion of life in South Korea. Eun-dong is from a much smaller village, and Se-ri is amused that the soldiers consider Jung-hyuk’s cooking over a coal briquette to be “modern.”
They all eat together, and awww, the ducklings keep passing meat to Se-ri… they’re so cute! Jung-hyuk says they have to return to their posts after the meal, and Se-ri is alarmed that she’ll be stuck at the house alone.
Jung-hyuk shows Se-ri his very old phone and tells her that dialing “5” will connect her to his office, impressing upon Se-ri that she can only use it in a dire emergency. She obeys, only calling him when it’s a true emergency such as lack of body wash and shampoo, and her desperate need for a scented candle for her bath, LOL.
Jung-hyuk somehow keeps his temper and explains to Se-ri how to carry hot water into the house from an outdoor cauldron, and how to hang a plastic sheet over the bathtub. It’s a lot of work, but even Se-ri admits to herself that it’s nice, like a private sauna.
Jung-hyuk receives a call that the tomb raiders were killed in the Mount Suseok crash. He drives to the SSD to speak with the senior colonel, and he finds Chul-kang there already. The senior colonel offers Jung-hyuk some contraband Maxim Gold coffee (HAHA, even North Korea loves the stuff), which Jung-hyuk declines.
He says that he wants to investigate the accident that killed the tomb raiders, whether it was intentional and if so, who was behind it. Apparently, this sort of thing has happened several times before. Chul-kang gives Jung-hyuk permission to look into it, and advises Jung-hyuk to visit the Trial Bureau in Pyongyang (the capitol of North Korea) in the morning.
After Jung-hyuk excuses himself, Chul-kang tells the senior colonel that he’s friends with the director of the Trial Bureau. The senior colonel asks if Jung-hyuk is so confident because he’s got someone backing him, but Chul-kang says that his resume doesn’t reflect any family background.
They discuss a new “contract” — after fleecing Se-ri’s younger brother, Se-hyung, of an astronomical amount of money, Gu Seung-joon is now asking for asylum in North Korea. He’s interested in a deal where he pays the government, an in return he’s given a mansion, a full staff, bodyguards, and access to luxuries like golf, hunting, and casinos.
Seung-joon offers to pay double the cost of the most expensive option, but he warns the broker that if anything happens to him while he’s in the country, they won’t be able to get to his money, as it’s all kept in offshore accounts. The broker says that he risks his life for his clients’ protection, and Seung-joon signs the contract.
After dusk, the kids in the village are called home just as the electricity is shut off for the night. Se-ri is worried by the blackout and tries to call Jung-hyuk, but the phone needs electricity to work. She gets scared when she hears a noise outside, and she grabs a vase to use as a weapon if anyone breaks in.
Thankfully, it’s just Jung-hyuk returning home, and when she sees him, Se-ri bursts into tears. Completely befuddled, Jung-hyuk holds out the candle he bought for Se-ri, since she said she needed one. She wails that she wanted a scented candle, then sobs that she’s sorry for flustering him but she’s just upset at the situation.
One of the village wives, WOL-SOOK (Kim Sun-young) asks her husband about a promotion, but he grumbles that it’s up to the senior colonel. He tells her to kiss up to his wife Young-ae more, so Wol-sook heads to Young-ae’s house, where she finds several more village wives with the same idea. HA, one of them is even pedaling a stationary bike in order to power the television.
As her sisters-in-law discuss which of their husbands will get the company now that Se-ri is gone, Se-ri tries to explain how stocks work to Jung-hyuk. She even admits that she once gave a friend a lot of money to invest, and lost it all (hmmm, did she give Seung-joon money, too?).
She cries again, sobbing that she’s even more upset now than when she lost the money. She’s embarrassed to be crying in front of a stranger, so Jung-hyuk puts out the candle and tells Se-ri that it’s okay now since he can’t see her. He’s so sweet.
When she stops crying, he tells her that he’s going to Pyongyang in the morning and that he might not be back before she leaves, but that his men will help her. Se-ri asks his name so she can return the favor one day, but Jung-hyuk says there’s no need. He simply reminds her not to tell anyone about this once she’s home.
Se-ri lights the candle again, and looks through the bag of things Jung-hyuk said he bought for her. It’s full of body wash and shampoo, fancy skin products, and even pretty lingerie, all from South Korea — he’d been to the marketplace and found a lady who sold them, and had bought everything she had.
Jung-hyuk arrives in Pyongyang in the morning. He’s detained as soon as he steps off the train and taken to the Trial Bureau, and he’s informed that instead of doing an investigation, he’s the one being investigated. He’s taken to a cell and sat down in what looks like an electric chair for executions.
The director of the Trial Bureau accuses Jung-hyuk of facilitating the deaths of the grave robbers, who died after he insisted they be sent to the capitol. When Jung-hyuk asks for proof, he’s told that they can make up any crimes they wish. Unconcerned, Jung-hyuk says that the director will be held accountable for what he just said.
Suddenly the general walks in and kicks the director, then has Jung-hyuk sent to his office. He tells the director that Jung-hyuk is the only son of the director of the General Political Bureau (which controls the entire North Korean military)… someone is in biiig trouble.
The director calls Chul-kang in a panic and tells him who Jung-hyuk is related to. Evidently, Jung-hyuk had an older brother who died, so he’s not just Director Ri’s only son, but his only surviving son. Chul-kang knew Jung-hyuk’s older brother MOO-HYUK (cameo by Ha Seok-jin), and now he remembers having met Jung-hyuk once when he was younger.
The soldier ducklings spend the day at Jung-hyuk’s house, ostensibly doing work on his water pump. In reality it’s an excuse to keep an eye on Se-ri, and she and Chi-soo continue their arguing and insults.
Over tea, the colonel asks Jung-hyuk if he wants to investigate the Mount Suseok crash because he thinks it may be related to his brother’s accident. Jung-hyuk lists several similar fatal accidents over the years, all caused by Russian Kamaz trucks, and voices the suspicion that the government may have a secret truck unit. He says there were three Kamaz trucks in the area around the time of the Mount Suseok accident.
The colonel warns Jung-hyuk that if he’s already made up his mind, everything will seem suspicious. His advice is for Jung-hyuk to put the past behind him, but Jung-hyuk doesn’t appear willing to do that.
As Jung-hyuk’s men are leaving his house, they run into Chul-kang, who says he’s running random inspections tonight. Joo-mok is startled into a hiccup attack, and once Chul-kang is gone, Chi-soo calls Jung-hyuk and tells him about the inspection, and the fact that they can’t warn Se-ri because they told her not to answer the house phone.
Jung-hyuk asks the colonel for a favor, and soon he’s zooming through the streets in a fast car with a license plate number indicating a high-ranking official. He’s waved through traffic lights and security stops, heading towards his village as fast as he can go.
Wol-sook is in charge of the inspections, but the most exciting things she uncovers are an illegal South Korean rice cooker (which is given to her to “dispose of”), and a husband cheating on his wife while she’s out of town. When it’s time to check Jung-hyuk’s home, she freshens her lipstick (lol), but Chul-kang is there, and he grows suspicious to see the house lit up when Jung-hyuk is away.
Inside, Se-ri is looking over Jung-hyuk’s extensive library of books, many of which are about music. She finds a flyer from a Swiss music university with a picture of a younger Jung-hyuk on it, and she thinks that he looks awfully familiar.
She hears Wol-sook announce an inspection before letting herself and Chul-kang inside. Chul-kang finds a photo of Jung-hyuk with his older brother, Moo-syuk, confirming that he is the son of General Political Bureau’s Director Ri. There’s nothing in the house to indicate a stowaway, but as they’re leaving, Chul-kang decides to check the kimchi cellar.
He finds Se-ri hiding inside and orders her at gunpoint to step out. The village gathers as Se-ri is led to Chul-kang’s vehicle, and Chul-kang tells her she’s going to the State Security Department for questioning.
But suddenly the crowd parts to allow Jung-hyuk to pull up in his borrowed car, and he approaches Chul-kang, who points his gun at Se-ri’s head. Cool as you please, Jung-hyuk says, “I would appreciate it if you would put away the gun you’re pointing at my fiancee.”
After disinheriting her family, Se-ri had gone to Switzerland to seek assisted suicide. She’d cited her reasons for wanting to end her life as depression, panic disorder, eating disorder, and insomnia, but she’d been turned away since she wasn’t physically ill. It was recommended that she spend some time in the beautiful country before returning home, but Se-ri had only sighed that it wouldn’t help, and she had no home to return to.
Still, she had gone walking one day, and had seen people paragliding high above the mountains. As Se-ri watched the lovely, peaceful paragliders, a man had stopped next to her to take in the sight. It was Jung-hyuk, and they had stood there together, marveling at the beauty.
Whoa, I wasn’t expecting Se-ri’s presence in the village to be discovered so soon! Jung-hyuk’s quick-thinking in saying that Se-ri is his fiancee will probably buy them some time, but it’s also bound to complicate things. However, as a viewer, I’m never mad at a fake relationship set-up, and Jung-hyuk and Se-ri have so much potential to be adorable together, I can’t wait to see them forced to act like lovers. I loved the scene where Jung-hyuk brought Se-ri the wrong kind of candle, and even in the middle of her fear and confusion over the situation, she remembered to apologize for not being more gracious about it. That scene said a lot about them both, all of it good.
Before the show started, I couldn’t figure out why a North Korean soldier would feel compelled to hide someone who was in the country accidentally, but now it makes sense… he’s covering his own ass, and those of his squadron. They could get into very serious trouble if it were discovered why Se-ri was able to get past them, and she holds all the cards because she knows the details due to Chi-soo’s big mouth. But despite his annoyance and frustration at the situation, our Jung-hyuk turned out to be quite the thoughtful gentleman!
It was so sweet how he took care of Se-ri even while grumbling about what an inconvenience she is, making her food and even buying her contraband South Korean products to make her feel more comfortable. He doesn’t berate her for being spoiled compared to what he’s used to, nor does he chastise his men for being human and having understandable weaknesses. I also wonder if that little smile when Jung-hyuk first saw Se-ri is because he recognized her from their Swiss encounter. If he remembers her, it would explain why he’s been so patient with her, and why he’s willing to put himself and his men at risk to keep her safe.
I love how the village families are depicted as just… normal families, just with different technological challenges than their South Korean counterparts. I’m no expert on either country, but I think it would have been easy to fall back on stereotypes, yet the people in the village feel so real and relatable. They get married, have kids, go to work, make food, and have and raise children just like people have done for millennia. They love each other, worry about the future, and bicker and make up and take care of each other, which is so familiar and comfortable.
For me, the best thing about Crash Landing on You, and what makes it work so well, is its tendency to poke fun at itself and dramas in general. The South Korean PPL all over North Korea is a hoot… you could almost see that general trying not to laugh as he talked about how delicious Maxim Gold coffee is. Joo-mok being the expert in all things South Korean because he watches dramas hits a little close to home, and it makes me laugh so hard every time he imparts wisdom to the other ducklings that he gets from twenty-year-old dramas. Writer Park Ji-eun is great at this… she inserts great characters and relationships into a world that seems just like, but not quite exactly like, the real one we live in, so that the absurd situations totally work and you fall for the wonderful characters. I don’t see anything to make me believe that Crash Landing will be any different than her other hit dramas.
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