(image was captured by DTLCT)
I actually finished this several months back already. Amazing, isn’t it? I actually finished a 60-episodes drama. I guess an episode or two a day will somehow lead me to achieve the goal. So how was it? Mixed feelings. YES, I couldn’t help it. But I thought the ending made all the difference. I thought of giving up around episode something (forgot which since I had finished several months back after all) when Zheng Fang and Ru Fen got married because of the baby, and not because of love. The fact that Ru Fen seemed to live under a rock regarding stuff didn’t help things either. I do understand that she was the youngest one of the family and was so sheltered that she only knew of family relationships, friendships, and other work-related responsibilities YET so out of it with the dangerous side of matters. It was still a major frustration that she was cornered and forced into marrying Zheng Fang just because, and somehow, only Ru Li was against it because she wasn’t very fond of Zheng Fang since he was such a cheapskate. Okay, so it was Ru Fen’s fault in the first place to accept Zheng Fang and have this pity for him since his father just passed away, etc AND how she wasn’t experienced in the romance area hence getting deceived and all, but I felt she didn’t deserve to pay for her stupidity so much. That was why I didn’t want to go on. But I continued months later (since I dropped it sometime last year and picked it up again earlier this year). Maybe it was because I just wanted to watch Ah Pang and Phoebe Huang because they were actually my favorite characters in here–and also was my favorite couple. Somehow afterward, I realized pieces were falling into place. The pace wasn’t too slow with dragging out things to the point of unbearable. Sure, it got dramatic and way beyond mad at some points, but it kept the realism at bay.
After seven years, Ru Fen was no longer the naive girl, which was real enough all right. But she had put up a shield to protect herself and her daughter through all the fuss her mother-in-law was tossing her way. Then there was also Zheng Fang who wasn’t so one-way with supporting his mother all the way anymore. I didn’t even feel it at first or possibly didn’t feel much of the chemistry between Zheng Fang and Ru Fen at all–regardless of their age gap (in the story, not their real ages). Yet after seven years of being together, I could feel like he actually loved Ru Fen though he was so torn between his mother and wife. Believe me, I wanted to kill him so many times during those times when he claimed he loved her yet seemed so oblivious to what was right in front of him, seeing how miserable she and their daughter were. Yet what made the difference was how he claimed later that he was the one in the ‘dream’ the whole time, saying how all these times the prince was living in his fantasy while not realizing that the princess wasn’t happy. That reminded me that the whole setup with Wang Man Lin was essential to wrap up the plot in general. It was not only a clever move but it had brought the whole story back to full circle, allowing him to experience the whole effects of it all. It was obvious that Zheng Fang wasn’t the type to give in or accept defeat or admitting wrong unless he had experienced something first hand. The incident with Man Lin had allowed him to realize how traumatizing it had been for Ru Fen when she woke up to discover she was in an unfamiliar place and realizing what had happened and was forced to accept the consequences with everyone cornering her.
Going back to the whole ‘prince and princess’ thing that Zheng Fang was saying to Ru Fen near the end when he had agreed on the divorce–FINALLY. I think it tied in with his dramatic nature at various points of the story. At first, I thought Victor was confusing us with his acting hence exaggerating. YET it was the right touches because it defined Zheng Fang’s nature so vividly, especially those words he said regarding the ‘prince and princess’ concept. The fact that he was the one ‘dreaming’ made all the difference in this case. Since it wasn’t like just the girl having some dream of marrying the perfect man all the time anymore, but the guy was the one in the situation this time around. Having Zheng Fang admitting that and how he was finally waking up from the trance, realizing that he had made the wrong choice, not wanting to burden his wife and kid any longer with the madness happening within the household. I could so relate to their marriage with his reaction and how he thought he was right and always making the right decisions and having a good family since I know someone like that in real life. (YES, I’m serious here, but the situation is still ongoing in my case and the guy haven’t awakened YET.) Anyway, with Zheng Fang, I thought the ending was going to be so forced with the intensity driven to its max when there were only several more episodes to go, but it wasn’t so. It made sense that it took their daughter’s reaction to wake him up with how her first words to him were that she wanted her mother, NOT that she loved him. It hurt major time and it was the situation that hadn’t allowed her to express her true feelings to him, but it had made him realize at last he needed to do what was right for his daughter. It had to be his daughter and not others because he hadn’t listened to them throughout those dramatic moments anyway, so it would be too cheesy if he suddenly got it with someone among them confronting him again.
The part where I actually felt touched and actually cried (YES, guilty) for them was when they said their last goodbyes. Sure, I always wanted to take a jab at times, but I also felt bad for him when she didn’t back down every time it had to do with Cai Ling. Sure, Cai Ling was important and her education was important, but I felt bad for Zheng Fang because he had to work sooo hard. She had to deal with his mother at home too, but I felt bad for him for having no break every single day with them arguing like that. So I didn’t feel as much chemistry between them or see any sort of caring. But when she told him that the season was changing, telling him to prepare this and that, and they ended up hugging. It was all the memories, he had to get used to living without her. Though there wasn’t much love in their relationship, they had been together all these years so it made sense that she knew so much of his habits. Then it reminded me of how some things looked so simple like her daily duties/routines at home, but it took so much energy out of her. I knew that from all the arguments they went through every single day within the household, but I sometimes felt she was rebelling as well with being forced into this marriage years ago. It actually wasn’t so, she had tried her best to work it out, but only became stubborn when it had to do with Cai Ling (which made sense–and which I felt very admirable since she had grown so strong to protect her daughter from harm, not so naive anymore).
The ending? What made it different–as I said earlier, was how the main guy didn’t end up with the main girl. YES, I’m sort of sick of that typical formula. Sure, they had tried to work things out, but it wasn’t always like that in real life. Not all marriages end in a happy ending (or so we like to think). I always thought that they would eventually work it out (like any typical drama) since they would always say every couple had their problems and have to get past some barriers. Even when Zheng Fang was set up by Man Lin. And there was also the fact that Jim came back. I thought it was a test for them both with those catalysts involved. YET it wasn’t so. Not like I wouldn’t want them to work it out since Zheng Fang wasn’t that terrible after all, he just loved Ru Fen too much and held onto his own principle of how happiness was hence not seeing the real situation. SO I would be okay if their situations were resolved in the end (since that was what I expected of a typical drama). But this time, I was surprised they approached it in that way and how Zheng Fang had let go and wanted to become a better man (as the song played in the background when they signed the divorce papers). Funny that the song had hinted at building the future and trying to become a better person for her YET in this case of the drama, they had used it to that effect (aka hinting at his letting go as becoming a better person). And indeed the ending was somewhat a full circle to the beginning as well, sort of. Like how Zheng Fang let go of Ru Fen–and even encouraged Ru Fen to pursue her own happiness with Jim hence hauling a Taxi for her. What was full circle about that scene was how Jim had once tagged along with Zheng Fang and Ru Fen’s car from a distance and had given them his blessings, so this time it was Zheng Fang’s turn. Then the next scene where Zheng Fang bumped into Xiao Lan again, it was so similar to what happened between him and Ru Fen. Whether or not something like that would happen in real life was debatable, but for this situation, I thought it was kind of cool. This time, Zheng Fang wasn’t such a cheapskate anymore, wanting to learn to become a better person by not fussing over that ticket. Xiao Lan also gave in and they had a fresh, new start.
I’m going to stop here and cover other parts of the plot later (as well as other characters).