Reunion: The Sound of the Providence

captured by DTLCT

Okay, I watched this last year just like half of the population but didn’t review it yet. Yes, I actually watched it during the time it aired. What a miracle, right? But seriously, I didn’t review it yet because I thought I read the novels at long last before reviewing, unlike when I watched The Lost Tomb and came into this all blind. However, I had to halt the reading because I got busy with other stuff and also because it was too scary for my scaredy-cat ass to continue, lol. Then I just plain forgot about it. I ended up going back to it and then stopping again because of other factors involved in the story. I’m about 70% done now because of how many parts were involved and the mystery that ran on and on. And since I do not want to forget all the details of the series itself, I’m going to review it first and then circle back to add on later when I’m finally finished.

Anyway, this was surprisingly enjoyable. Okay, that was an understatement. Because I thought it was actually quite good. It had mystery, suspense, and humor rolled into one. I guessed that having the author himself being the screenwriter helped. Because as far as I read the novel, the feeling was about the same. It blew me away with how much the essence of the novel was kept.

Main Cast:

  • Zhu Yi Long (朱一龙) as Wu Xie (吴邪). He was surprisingly charming for this role. I’m not saying I hate him. I haven’t watching anything with him properly since Xiao Shi Yi Lang. Even that one, I had dropped it already and don’t know if I will ever come back to that. But what part that I actually watched of him in that one, he was really good with his performance. This one? It was like the character was made for him. I obviously read the novel after finishing the series (or tried to as said above), so when I was reading it, I actually imagine it was him while reading Wu Xie’s journey and it somehow made sense. That comment will probably seem like a slap in the face for the ones who root for other actors who had taken on the role, but that was just personal opinion because of the impression Zhu Yi Long made on me. So, not trying to start anything here, but just giving him the credit he deserved (and the rest of the cast as well for this review here).
  • Huang Jun Jie (黄俊捷) as Zhang Qi Ling (张起灵). I think most of us mourned it when Yang Yang lost the chance of showing the character’s truth essence in the other one (because of the cuts that a certain production team thought was appropriate). But I thought Huang Jun Jie came a close second when it came to this role. Or maybe even better because he had the chance to portray the role to its fullest extent. So when I read the novel, I also imagine it was him, lol. But he was so lovable in his own mysterious way. He was there when they needed him, regardless of how dangerous the situation was. It was admirable and touching.
  • Chen Ming Hao (陈明昊) as Wang Pang Zi (王胖子). Omg, he cracked me up so much. Who called it? But I guessed he did reprise his role from the other segment (as I looked up more info), so that said something. I thought he was perfect for Pang Zi. So random, so crazy yet showed a sense of strange loyalty to Wu Xie and the others too. By this time, they had been through so much already, so it made sense. What was hilarious was how he was wearing different shirts when he was home that got me going for a while, especially the Hello Kitty one. Who made that call? It was a hilarious take and showed a different side of his character. Outside, he was trying to be tough and all. But inside? It was another thing. But his sense of humor carried through for the majority of the time, though. So it was very consistent.
  • Mao Xiao Tong (毛晓彤) as Bai Hao Tian (白昊天) aka Xiao Bai (小白). Oy, what to say about this role? I actually liked her in DGSD and thought she was really cute in there. But this one? Mixed feelings throughout and then I eventually became annoyed. It somewhat had to do with how meaningless her character was. Yes, harsh, but seriously, I just didn’t see the point of her character, except to stick in a female lead for the show because possible viewers’ backlash if they didn’t have one or something. I don’t know. That was the feeling I got. At first, I thought she was an interesting character and could be involved in that deceptive web too, depending on where she belonged on the spectrum comparing to other characters. Because the majority were acting suspicious one way or another anyway. I thought because she was in Warehouse 11 and all, she would be much more awesome than that, which she did show at first with her analytical and leadership skills in the control room. However, she got reduced to some silly fangirl. I tried to get past that by paying attention to the plot and how she contributed to it, but just found her role unnecessary to the overall plot in general the more I analyzed it. Perhaps, people could say she was a connection to Wu Xia entering Warehouse 11 and then eventually making it easier for him to investigate some matters. However, Wu Xia had proven his abilities to convince people wherever he went, so with or without her, it didn’t make a difference. Like Xiao Bai didn’t make Li Jia Le or Jia Ke Zi hate Wu Xia less. He broke some cases wide open hence earning their respect eventually. If she wasn’t around, he would somehow recruit them on his own to go on that trip anyway. Or if he didn’t want to drag them into it like he said many times before with some people in here, they would volunteer when they heard or learn more of his journey. So yeah, she was just around for me, not really making an impression–even if she was boost to be the main lead.
  • Hu Jun (胡军) as Wu Er Bai (吴二白) aka Second Uncle (二叔). I was suspicious throughout, wondering if he had anything to do with Third Uncle’s disappearance. I swear, I suspected him more than Er Jing. Even if I thought Er Jing was involved, I thought he would have been the mastermind. How wrong I was, lol. Of course, I didn’t read the novel at that time, so of course, it sounded super silly to someone who already read it. And because I thought it was one of those cases of siblings rivalry again hence suspecting him.
  • Baron Chen (陳楚河) as Hei Xia Zi (黑眼镜). This was surprisingly the first time I watched him in a series although I know who he is. It’s not like I avoid him on purpose for some weird reason, lol. But I wasn’t even the least bit interested in his past projects. One time I almost could watch him but there was a cast change, so he wasn’t in that series anymore. So yes, finally watching him and he was really entertaining to watch. His character was mysterious at first yet turned quite humorous later. He didn’t lack in talent from various missions they were involved in either. Of course, considering the history that was somewhat mentioned later when they met up at one point, it was expected he would be as talented. Or he wouldn’t have survived all these years.
  • Maggie Huang (黄梦莹) as Mute Girl (哑女). She was an interesting character and actually ended up more helpful in their journey in uncovering the big mystery. She was actually quite cute too as time allowed for it. Aside from that, she was quite brave in her own way, trying to hold on and not cave to that despicable dude’s threats.
  • Liu Chang (刘畅) as Liu Sang (刘丧). He creeped me out at first and I just didn’t know what to think of him. I did want to find out more about him, so that helped with concealing some of the mystery about him. It was revealed that he idolized Zhang Qi Ling, so that sort of fused his purpose and made him want to prove himself even more.

Others:

  • Qiao Zhen Yu (乔振宇 ) as Jie Yu Chen (解雨臣). He didn’t appear much but played a key role in providing some information. It was disclosed that he was one of the key characters of the overall story. It was just that he wasn’t focused on as much in this one. I actually enjoyed this role of QZY–even if he didn’t appear much. It was a fun role, I guessed. He might have earned enough for some tea, lol. But nice to see him–even if really brief. Also, nice to see him portraying a sauve medic.
  • Yu Ming Xuan (余洺轩) as Wu San Xing (吴三省) aka Third Uncle (三). I didn’t know what to say. I think they toned him down on purpose in here, even with the recaps and some suspicious things he’d done in the past. Because he was ten times more cunning in the novel. Perhaps, because of how they were trying to abide by the rules and had to skirt around some stuff for airing guidelines or something. I don’t know. I’m just guessing at this point. But somehow, it skewed his character as an overall and made him more likeable in some ways.
  • Gao Qi Chang (高其昌) as Wang Meng (王盟). Worked at Wu Xie’s shop. He was playful and somewhat laidback throughout. Having such a boss who kept disappearing, of course, he had to keep some type of sense of humor, lol. Anyway, the interesting part was seeing how ZYL portrayed this character at one point–in disguise as relevant to the plot. It was hilarious and showed another level of ZYL’s acting. It was brilliant and showed consistency with Wang Meng’s personality.
  • Tse Kwan Ho (謝君豪) as Boss Jiao (焦老板). What can I say except he totally got what he deserved? All that craziness and schemes. All the wasted time and he got nothing in return. Well, he paid a heavy price for it all.
  • Wu Li Peng (邬立朋) as Jiang Zi Suan (江子算). At first, I didn’t think much of him except another complicated character within the web of deception that some of the major characters had to uncover. However, when his character was pushed forward into the limelight, his performance actually blew me away. Funniest thing was when I went to search for his info, I realized he was in The Deer and the Cauldron. It was just that I wasn’t really paying attention to him in the other one. Also, because of how he didn’t have much of a screen time, considering how that one went, it made sense with his character not appearing much. But when I went back and read the comment I made for his character, it was along the line of him not making an impact for that particular character, so I didn’t think much of him. Well, he sure showed me, right? LOL! Because for this one, it was really good. Considering how it has been several years now, of course, he had more projects under his belt and had more opportunities to take on other major roles, right? It made sense that he shone so brightly during his time in here. (Also, he was on my phone wallpaper for a while, lol.)
  • Liu Yu Qi (刘羽琦) as San Ye (三叶) and A Ning (阿宁). Um, I don’t know if San Ye was in the novel, because I’m still far from the events after A Ning died and what the endgame was. But A Ning was seriously unlucky. I don’t know if it was more frustrating to watch the series version of her death or read the actual accounts in the novel. Both were equally frustrating. Like seriously? The author couldn’t develop her character more so he decided to kill her off? I got the message that life was unpredictable and they were in a very dangerous situation. But seriously?
  • Chun Yu Shan Shan (淳于珊珊) as Chief Ding (丁主管). He almost won. I swear, he made a rookie mistake that he mocked other villains for. LOL! He thought he was prepared with trapping Wu Xie and all. So he was all happy and on his merry way of doing the monologue. Well, that was until Pang Zi woke up, lol. That was seriously priceless.
  • Ze Nan (泽南) as Lia Jia Le (李加乐).
  • Zhong Jia Cheng as (钟嘉诚) as Jia Ke Zi (贾咳子).
  • Fan Yi Ze (范奕泽 ) as Er Jing (贰京). Who had it on their bingo card that he was the one? Yeah, that was a surprise for me because I wasn’t paying attention to him. But I guess that was the purpose of having him blend in? Like he was like somewhat there, being helpful at times to Second Uncle but didn’t really stand out. Then bam, he revealed his cards. Well, I knew someone within the group was a suspect because of information leaking out, but I just thought he was annoyed with Wu Xie for running off and causing him having to take care of things according to Second Uncle’s commands, etc. I sort of had the feeling he was jealous of Wu Xie as well. But I couldn’t guess the scale of impact he had on the plot. So yeah, good one. However, he also made a big mistake by chasing after something so vague that made it laughable. But I guess that showed even the strongest villains had their weak spot somewhere.
  • Qu Ying (瞿颖) as Ye Piao Piao (叶飘飘). I didn’t expect her to die. I swear, I thought she would have made it through. At one point, I was scared that she would fall into Xue Wu’s trap somehow and cause trouble for Pang Zi and the others. She somewhat did misunderstand some stuff at first but tried to get away later. It was indeed tragic how things turned out.
  • Zhang Fan (张帆) as Xue Wu (薛五). He was really, really, really annoying. Seriously. So I totally enjoyed that scene when they tore up his house, lol.
  • He Long Long (何龙龙) as Huo Dao Fu (霍道夫). He was an interesting character, which might motivate me to watch the other one he was in. However, I wonder how much he appeared in the other one.

Relationships – family, friends, romances:

  • Zhu Yi Long, Huang Jun Jie, and Chen Ming Hao as Iron Triangle. What can I say? I loved the team. They were perfect. They worked well together and created the impression they were indeed the iron three. I thought the series (regardless of adaptations) gave more leverage to Wu Xia and boost him up a little more to the level of the other two. I thought this one even surpassed all the other adaptations with bridging the gap of Wu Xie’s abilities compared to the novel. Because the other two had to save his ass A LOT in the novel. Sure, he was smart, but he was just too annoying for me in some ways with his inactiveness. It was like he stumbled into surviving throughout either by others saving him or by luck. So yeah, it didn’t make impression on me as much in the novel with the golden three versus how different adaptations led us on. Also, the reason he survived it all was because he was the storyteller, he couldn’t die. So yeah.
  • Zhu Yi Long and Mao Xiao Tong? How about no? Luckily, the author thought the same. I was so scared that they would end up together–just because they were listed as the main leads in the credits. Mean, but I was so annoyed with her by the halfway mark that I didn’t want to see her anymore hence hoping that it didn’t turn into some soapy romance. I have no problem if they were to pair up for another drama, but in the context of this particular plot, I didn’t really like the idea. So yeah.
  • Baron and Maggie. I liked them. They were hilarious, but also cute in a way—as far as the plot allowed.
  • Zhu Yi Long vs. Wu Li Peng. This both had to do with the conflicts they went through as characters and also of how both actors had to portray someone else at various points. That part where Wu Xie disguised himself as Jiang Zi Suan to investigate on matters was totally unexpected for me but was also much welcomed with seeing how Wu Li Peng portrayed Wu Xie in the way that it would be consistent with how Zhu Yi Long had approached it thus far. Then later, he Wu Xie reused that identity to sneak into Warehouse 11 again. It was brilliant. What took it up to another notch was how Wu Xie had set it so that Wang Meng was disguised as him to throw off the enemy. Even if it was found out later, but that part was seriously convincing. I actually had to pause the episode and flip back because I was wondering why Wu Xie was acting that way and why he was eating a lollipop even. I swear I thought he was still inside the warehouse. I thought I click on the wrong episode in the playlist so I had to double check. Then as it moved forward, I realized what was going on. It was indeed nice to see. Both guys actually did really well portraying those scenes.

The Novel: I will come back later to wrap up because I’m not at the end yet but will approach it thus far as of my progress

  • So, which one did I prefer, novel or its adaptation? I think people would be shocked to learn that I prefer the series more. Yes, regardless of production, I prefer the series more. I’m not trying to stomp on the author’s efforts here. Of course, there would be no movies or tv series if there were no novels. But I think my preference was mostly due to the fact that it was told from Wu Xie’s point of view. His biases and his lack of action and approaches at times drove my patience insane (as mentioned above). Sure, it made sense if it was from his account because it was his “journal” as it was hinted in the title. However, I agreed with Pang Zi when he said Wu Xie thought too much. He completely lived in his brain and the fact that he needed saving the majority of the time made it so frustrating. He was like the weakest link and he knew it too. Yet that didn’t make it better. Perhaps, I was so used to his awesomeness in this particularly series itself, so it was disappointing–to say the least–to see him so incapable. The balance of strength and all was so uneven that made it hard to accept. Maybe it was because in the events of the series, he had more experiences so it made sense he was more awesome. However, I couldn’t accept he didn’t even progress as expected when I’m already approaching part 7 in the novel. Sure, he was indeed very smart and capable of analyzing various scenarios, but I felt he was just living in his head too much. If the others didn’t react fast enough, he would already be dead. Hey, I think I picked on characters like Wang Yu Yan or other female characters who were boring yet were quite intelligent when it was the female characters. So it was only fair when I called out those male characters who were in the similar category. Wu Xie had a sense of humor and at times his attitude showed that he wasn’t so one-layered. But he didn’t capture my attention as much as I would have expected. If it wasn’t for the overall mystery and what was going on, I would have given up already.
  • The political conflicts and other controversial views. This was one of the reasons why I couldn’t finish the novel fast enough. I didn’t want to go there, because I was mostly interested in the mystery of the tombs and the puzzles popping up. However, it kept being brought up so I will say that it was a turn off for me. It was hard to ignore with their skewed perspective. Sure, I know I have a skewed one too. I think this is a matter of how we’re all brought up and taught. But the bias was too much for me to ignore. A sense of pride and stuff isn’t wrong, we all have it. But when it’s so skewed to benefit a certain side, you know what their agenda is. Not to mention how it was portrayed their group was full of talented people and only they could do it. Yet others who weren’t from their side? They were considered talent-less, etc. Sure, it was mentioned a certain group might have the tools and technology, but weren’t as talented to figure it out with the mysteries. While that could be true in a lot of circumstances, but it would make more sense to have a variety of people coming from various places be experts on various matters, NOT just one group from a certain place possessing those so-called talents only. It was too much of a slap in the face. Or perhaps, it was taught from their perspective so they were considered the pros? I don’t know, but it was just too hard to ignore with continuous mantra.
  • Wu Xie’s biases. I know I listed it as the reason why I didn’t like reading or was struggling to hang on. Sure, it made sense that he was loyal to his family because it was his family after all. But his dishonesty drove me insane. He provided plenty of excuses for his people–whether family or friends. Yet he condemned that foreigner dude and made him out to be the villain? Seriously? Examples? There was always a reason for different people to do this or that–whether to rob, steal, lie or cheat. He excused them all because he knew them and provided the reasons–whether they were too poor, too desperate or whatever. Yet he thought that evil foreigner dude was despicable because he stole from his grandfather? Um, unless I missed something, his grandfather also stole the ancient fabric from a tomb. It didn’t belong to him. It was just plain karma that someone else lied and cheated and snatched it from him. So, was that foreigner dude despicable and vicious in his actions? Yes. But come on, stop thinking that anyone’s innocent in this whole tomb raiding business. And yes, Wu Xie himself, acknowledged those facts as well, many times even, but there was always the whole “but” explanation that made his family members or close friends seemed more reasonable than they actually were.
  • “It” as the main villain. Well, somehow along the way, the author decided to cast an unknown force to be the villain and that one foreign dude was just another pawn in the web of schemes. That cranked the intensity and mystery up. However, he kept unleashing questions and mysteries and all these ridiculous schemes yet never seemed to tie it all up. It was like he was milking the story and stretching it out as much as he could. Suspense could work only so far when you feed readers with answers, seriously. People are probably thinking I’m bitter hence being so harsh on the author. I was actually pulled in right away and ended up reading for several days straight to finish the first part (during free time because I have to do other stuff too, lol). But the hype just died down when it seemed like nothing was solved and the details just kept latching on to pull readers in yet didn’t solve anything completely.
  • The rich background history, culture, and other interpretations. This was probably the strongest point of the novel. The incorporation between different artifacts and history to the fictional world. It reminded me of both Jin Yong and Wolong Sheng’s styles. Jin Yong because of the in-depth history tie-in with the fictional characters and Wolong Sheng because of the various structures and its hidden secrets/ compartments, etc. It was indeed quite fascinating and intriguing. Also, I later realized why some stuff were eerily familiar yet just can’t seem to place it. Aside from the cultural context and the historical background, the rest gave me a major vibe of Jules Verne’s stories. Especially that of Journey to the Center of the Earth. Is this another attempt to break down the author’s world through my accustations? No, I just found it interesting. Also, many famous authors were influenced by other past authors before–or inspired by a certain genre. Or possibly coincidences. It wasn’t anything new. It was just that I finally solved a certain itching feeling so I thought I share.

Recommended? Despite all the comments I made up there, I think fans of the novel should check it out. (Because those were just my personal opinions and what type of formulas I liked.) Considering how the author himself did pen the script after all. It was worth it in the grand scheme of things. The reason why I started watching this was because of Qiao Zhen Yu. Yet his appearance was a grand total of three times, lol. But I was glad I stuck around because I was so sick of soaps—ancient or modern. I was glad to have a serious drama to watch. I’m not trying to stomp on other productions, but in past few years, the amount of focus on love stories had grown to an excruciating painful level. So, this was actually a gem within all those other ones.

Female Butler: Review

(image credit: as marked)

I actually finished this like weeks ago, but haven’t gotten time to do the review. Or more like I was still digesting it. The ending was indeed choking but not too surprising, considering the era it was in. I will admit that it was actually one of the better TV series of recent, even if there were so many flaws.

Main Cast:

  • Janine Chang as Wu Xiao Qi (吳小七) aka Dong Fang Jing Qi (东方靖琪). I don’t know if Jing Qi’s too forgiving nature was her weakness or her strong sense of responsibility. I started liking her regardless of how she seemed reckless at times. Her beyond brave attitude or stubbornness–whatever you want to call it–drawn me in, because I’ve been quite turned off by characters that seemed like a doormat to other people’s attacks. As the story went on, indeed, Jing Qi at times seemed to succumb to circumstances around her yet she still seemed to shine at the right moments, not making her another weakling like others, accepting fate. Her sense of responsibilities toward the Du family–just because of what her father did and then what she later did (because of the misunderstanding)–really crammed her decisions later on. She was focused on repaying Du Yuan Shan back–for his kindness and patience with her all along, giving her a second chance, etc. That was one of the reasons why she even kept some of the secrets back and didn’t make a fuss about Ming Hai’s fake fiancee. Yet I was really mad at her for that. (Yes, I understood the stuff about saving face for the Du family but they were conned. At least Ming Hai deserved to know. Even if he was really rash and stupid at times. Or was that a better choice to conceal it since bringing Xiao Ruo Yun’s brother into the whole mess would cause more drama for the family? Even if Jing Qi didn’t know it was Xiao Jin Shui’s scheme all along, Xiao Ruo Yun was his sister so touching his sister wasn’t a good idea. Yeah, I also remember that one of the reasons for Jing Qi to reconsider the whole situation was because the fake fiancee was doing that because of her sick mother needing money and medical aid.) Anyway, Jing Qi’s character wasn’t flawless (obviously), but like I said, she rose above the obstacle when it mattered the most. She was kindhearted but wasn’t a “goody-two-shoes”, because some of the moves she made would make others whine about her being heartless or whatever. What made her admirable was how she managed to bring the Du family and others together in the end. Sure, she initially started the investigation and was accused of causing trouble for the Du family. Yet she was just thinking of the long run for the finances within the household. If some parties kept skimming the profits and lying about it, who knew what they would be eating or be able to eat if they didn’t stop those actions? So after that was figured out and all, she managed to work on getting the businesses back up and running again, and even solve some issues within the household. Even if she fell several times and even thought of leaving (because of her personal situation and was totally understandable), she still stayed and took care of matters.
  • Liu Huan (刘欢) as Du Ming Hai (杜明海). The second young master of the Du family. He seriously made so many reckless moves since the beginning of the story that I once called him “The Dumbest Main Guy Ever” yet he redeemed himself later. I know no one was perfect, but I was disappointed with his moves throughout. Sure, I was touched by his protective nature of his mother and later on of Jing Qi. That didn’t mean that I wasn’t mad at him for many of his actions throughout, which were also his downfall in many ways. Perhaps, that was why his character balanced off nicely with the others? He and Ruo Yun were the hot-headed ones and Jing Qi and Zhi Yuan were the more level-headed ones. Anyway, he vouched to listen to Jing Qi yet didn’t on situations that were crucial, which had caused him to go on the road of no return. Yes, he was desperate, he wanted to save Jing Qi yet that was so frustrating with getting himself arrested too and then eventually needing Jing Qi to rescue him by sacrificing herself. Then it was all right again, but the next time Jing Qi was arrested, he went and did something reckless again. That was the time he ended up seeking help from the robbers and had to assume the leadership of the whole place. That had brought on more complications, forcing Jing Qi to use herself as a shield so he could get away and finally his downfall. What got me amazed with the script was how they managed to turn everything around and redeemed his character, showing that he had matured yet also still retained a certain humorous side of himself. He was no longer reckless, he was more calm and cautious of his actions. I was shocked that they killed him off the first time and had to get over it, knowing the plot was going in a different direction. However, I think what got me floored was killing him the second time. Sure, things didn’t look too good with them being so outnumbered. But I thought he would at least survive, even Zhi Yuan too, considering how they were the main guys. Yet the script went all out and eliminated them both.
  • Duanmu Chonghui (端木崇慧) as Xiao Ruo Yun (肖若云 ). Not going to lie, I hated her so much at the beginning of the drama. It wasn’t because of her love for Ming Hai either, because I initially thought she was funny. But I found her spoiled nature intolerable. I then switched to pitying her because she was betrayed by her brother–who schemed with Du Ming Jiang to lure her into such a trap. But what shocked me into hating her totally was how she created the trap for Ming Hai and sabotaged Jing Qi completely. Sure, it was tragic that she was conned and I was waiting to see if she was able to get out of it or eventually side with her “husband” as well–whichever direction the plot was going. However, those who schemed against her wasn’t Ming Hai nor Jing Qi. She didn’t want to see Ming Hai and Jing Qi married, but she decided to betray Ming Hai’s trust like that? She became unforgivable to me at that point. Then the plot just had to go and redeem her character near the end. That was interesting and also quite convincing. I must give the writers for that since I thought I was done with her. I also thought she was going to make it to the end, despite all the rough patches along the way.
  • Guo Dong Dong (郭冬冬) as Ma Zhi Yuan (马致远). The only son of the Ma family. I was initially wrong about him. Yes, he was the “Mr. Nice Guy” of the show, but he wasn’t acting entitled like some of the guys in the other dramas. He was just being himself. He did end up being the hero of many situations yet didn’t brag about it. That made him more likable. He didn’t use those times when he helped Jing Qi or others to bargain for some “advantages.” Not to mention how he didn’t guilt-trip Jing Qi or force her to accept him or marry him because of him helping her or saving her several times. Yes, he did get frustrate and point out to Jing Qi about Ming Hai’s situations when Ming Hai was finally considered part of the robbers, but I believed he genuinely worried for her. I hate to admit it but I didn’t blame him for using Jing Qi’s trip to the mountains to attack Ming Hai’s force, because he was in a really hard place, considering how the locals were calling for Ming Hai’s head and he had to be fair about it.

Others:

  • Xie Yuan (谢园) as Du Yuan Shan (杜远山). The master of the Du family aka Du Ming Hai’s father. It was a misunderstanding that he was a villain at first. Yet despite all those nice things he did for others along the way, I didn’t think it was forgivable with him not interfering into the situation regarding Chun Er. Yes, he said it was in respect of He Da Lian’s duties that he left it all up to her to take care of stuffs inside the household, but it was seriously suspicious. The many tortures that the servants went through whenever He Da Lian was unhappy previously and he turned a blind eye to that? I couldn’t agree with him on that. Even if she was the one taking course of those actions, it didn’t help that he was knowingly letting it slide by.
  • Tse Kwan Ho (謝君豪) as Wang Fu Gui (王富贵). The previous butler of the Du family. I hated him initially but I think it lessened a tad when I realized some of the stuffs he was doing was trying to provide a better life and support for his son, Cong Ming.
  • Wang Quan You ( 王全有) as Ma Wan Nian (马万年). Ma Zhi Yuan’s father. I enjoyed watching him up until his inevitable ending. I was rather amused during his many banters with his son and even Du Yuan Shan. He made a great comedic relief for the show. That was until things got intense and he had to take the extreme measure to save his son. I will not lie, I shed tears for his tragic death.
  • Jing Gang Shan (景岗山) as Wu Xiao Tian (吴啸天). Jing Qi’s adopted father. He mistakenly assumed that Du Yuan Shan was in the wrong and caused Jing Qi to go on a revenge route that almost become irreversible. Yet he didn’t do it on purpose and it was forgivable, considering how he didn’t realize Jing Qi’s father was the one betraying them all and trying to steal Du Yuan Shan’s medic manual.
  • Rong Rong (荣蓉) as He Da Lian (何大莲). Du Yuan Shan’s first wife. Mixed feelings throughout. I hated her not because she was a typical stuck-up rich person, but because of her scheming against Sun Miao Han initially and wanting to kick Ming Hai out of the house for good so Ming Jiang could acquire the business. I get it that it was a scary thing with an unknown future, but those actions only prove she didn’t understand her husband. He wouldn’t let them all rot, considering how he had kept up with taking care of the household all these years. I hated also that she got away with being responsible for Chun Er’s death and tragedy. Sure, Chun Er was scheming in her own way, but that didn’t make He Da Lian any better or justify her behaviors with going to the extreme of forcing Chun Er to drink the medicine and all. She could kick her out of the resident, sure. But going to such extremes? I understood her love for Ming Jiang, but didn’t approve of her actions. But that was probably why it became an excuse for Ming Jiang regarding everything? Like it was never his fault, just others? Even if she let off on Jing Qi later, she was an in-between character for me all along. I was just glad she was no longer causing trouble–more than necessary.
  • Zhou Tie (周铁) as Du Ming Jiang (杜明江) aka Dong Fang Jing Ming (东方靖鸣). The first young master of the Du family, but was later revealed as Jing Qi’s brother. He was seriously beyond help. With the comment above, of course, He Da Lian was only partially responsible for his spoiled nature. He was seriously selfish and greedy. He didn’t even consider how Du Yuan Shan had taken care of him all these years, trusted him with many functions of the family business, and even entrusted half of the fortune to him in the future. (Yes, I had to put it in since it was like a super big deal if the other oldies of the Du clan knew he wasn’t actually a “Du”, they wouldn’t approve of him.) Yet what did he do? He just thought negatively of Du Yuan Shan. He didn’t think how good he had it comparing to other kids growing up or the point he was at when he was finally all grown up. He only focused on the negative, thinking that Du Yuan Shan was a monster for punishing him. Why was he celebrating when Ming Hai was kicked out? It was only unfair when it happened to him, right? (Just for the record, I actually felt it was justified that Ming Hai was kicked out since he was causing too much trouble and had way too many mishaps. He needed to learn.)
  • Zhang Rui Han (张瑞涵) as Xiao Jin Shui (肖金水). Xiao Ruo Yun’s brother. He was seriously despicable and hateful on many levels. I was waiting forever for him to receive his own karma, whatever that was going to be. It was like he never let off. He was responsible for killing some of the major characters in here. He was greedy and ruthless yet acted like it was his right.
  • Liu Wei Bo (刘韦伯) as He Jia Bao (何家宝). He Da Lian’s nephew. I think I hated him more than Du Ming Jiang or Xiao Jin Shui–if that was possible. I saw no point in his character surviving for so long, except probably just to annoy? Because I understood the purpose of the other two characters. I even sympathized with the other two at one point or another yet couldn’t find it in me to understand him. He had it all with Du Yuan Shan letting him in on the family business or other matters, and he was leeching off them without needing to lift a finger just because he was He Da Lian’s nephew. So what was his excuse? Well, at least, he didn’t get away with it all.
  • He Jia Yi (何佳怡) as Sun Miao Han (孙妙菡). The second wife of Du Yuan Shan, also Ming Hai and Ming Xi’s mother. I liked her initially, then she just lost my respect after asking Jing Qi to back down regarding how Ming Hai’s fiancee came back. Sure, she was siding with Jing Qi at first and wanting Ming Hai to get married since they couldn’t wait for the other family forever. That made sense. However, I think He Da Lian was right when she said, “Don’t make me clean up the mess when the other family shows up.” He Da Lian was bossy and snappy in many sense, but she was right in that Sun Miao Han was too weak at times. Yes, it was not good to break the promise of the past if the other girl was who she was and how she had turned poor already. What frustrated me was how Sun Miao Han thought she was helping yet she was too weak, forcing Jing Qi to be the one walking away–and also trying to be even stronger by staying in the end to fulfill her duties and promise to Du Yuan Shan (of taking care of the family). So when Sun Miao Han said that she treated Jing Qi like a daughter and how Jing Qi should keep the jade piece, I had a hard time believing her.
  • Xie Wen Xuan (謝聞軒) as Du Ming Xi (杜明溪). Du Ming Hai’s younger sister. Unlike some of the major characters, she appeared somewhat in the middle of the story but ended up having such a great impact on the story–both good and bad. She was immature at first and hated Jing Qi because Zhi Yuan liked Jing Qi. However, her mistake was taking Ruo Yun’s joke seriously thus causing the worst for Ma Da Yuan. Sure, she didn’t know it was going to turn out that way and she didn’t do it on purpose. But I seriously didn’t think it took a genius to figure out you don’t mess with the authorities, regardless of situations. So if you want to joke around, don’t drag the local authorities in. I believed it was a plot hole because Ming Xi had studied overseas already so she already understood how to survive on her own, how could she make such a drastic mistake? Sure, sometimes people who study a lot lack a sense of reality on issues, but I thought it was too much of common sense to not touch authorities (as stated above). So yes, that was really strange that was her one mistake before she learned and grow, leading to her joining and becoming one of the members to fight against the Japanese invasion and defend her country. Aside from that, I thought the actress was cute and likable. (I just went to check since I couldn’t place her face although I knew I watched her somewhere before and indeed, she was in Gentle Mercy as He Si Si.)
  • Qiu Shi Jian (邱士鉴 ) as Li Wai Bo (李歪脖). Ming Hai’s loyal assistant. I don’t want to call him “servant” because I thought he was more like Ming Hai’s good brother when Ming Hai was working at the harbor and then later following Ming Hai regardless of the situation. He was indeed loyal and had Ming Hai’s back throughout the years, even if he knew at times Ming Hai wasn’t acting on the best of ideas.
  • Huang Kai Xiang (黄垲翔) as Zhou Shan Kou (周山口). I didn’t even like him from the start. Even if Ming Hai was really rude and mean to him during their first meeting. I didn’t hold it over him that Ming Hai saved him and how he liked Jing Qi. That was just him, another character that they encountered and somehow helped with their business later. But there was something really off about him that I didn’t care for, so unlike how I had changed my initial feelings for Ma Zhi Yuan. So it was just a happy coincidence–or perhaps the way he had acted that was meant to later reveal his true identity–that he was on the opposite side. Well, it wasn’t like he wanted to be since other characters in other TV dramas had been on opposing sides and chose differently. That was his country, he couldn’t change it, but what made him despicable was killing others who trusted him throughout. Other characters in other stories had been forced to be in some conspiracy before so I understand it wasn’t anything new, but I felt other characters (even weaker ones–or so it seemed) were braver than him and tried to stay out of it or tip people off. But he didn’t, he was all right with those senseless killings and betrayed his friends’ trust.
  • Huang Di (黄迪) as Chun Er (春儿). He Da Lian’s maid. It wasn’t a big surprise that she wasn’t a likable character and had set out to make Jing Qi’s life miserable at one point. I didn’t like her for that or her scheming nature. At times, I didn’t blame her for wanting to secure her spot in the Du family because it was indeed scary to be married off to an old man or some other random family out there since it was a time that women didn’t have a lot of say and all, especially since she was a maid. However, I hated that she was aiding in spying on Jing Qi and causing many troubles for her. She was scared of her boss, but she could have made up some other excuses about not finding any evidence or whatever. What I actually felt sorry for her was being forced to get rid of her baby and then eventually leading to her death. Sure, she was manipulative and I knew Du Ming Jiang will never like her, but she wanted to keep her baby. She did apologize to Jing Qi in the end and even took her own life, and since Jing Qi forgave her, I didn’t hold it against her either (too late anyway).
  • Tan Xue Liang (谭学亮) as Feng Xie Tou (冯铁头). Ma Zhi Yuan’s good brother from the police force. Some of the inconsistencies of his character initially made it hard to like him, but I  guess when I ignored some of the stuff, it didn’t matter anymore. I guessed that he was at times torn, because he had to listen to Xiao Jin Shui to survive and retain his job hence the cruel carrying out of sentences with several parties. He was only known to be loyal to Ma Zhi Yuan and would risk his life for him. He did die bravely near the end though.
  • Ou Yang Pei Long (欧阳培龙) as Chang Shou (长寿). The Du family’s loyal servant. His name was probably an irony to the character itself. Seriously, his chance of living for me was higher than some people in here yet he was killed off later. I was upset because of the person executing him, but to the story, it made sense so I wasn’t too sore. But he was probably one of my favorite characters among the major characters since he was shown to be loyal to Du Yuan Shan from the start, not betraying the household regardless. He was probably worth mentioning and worth praising more than some of the so-called hotshots in here.
  • Bai Jin Cheng (白锦程) as Old Master Ma (马老太爷). Ma Wan Nian’s father and Ma Zhi Yuan’s grandfather. His death added more conflict between the Du family and the Ma family. His appearance was brief and also introduced an opportunity for Jing Qi to enter their lives at the beginning.
  • Li Jun Xian (李俊贤) as Akita / Qiu Tian (秋田). Zhou Shan Kou’s uncle. He was on the opposing side and was ruthless in his techniques. He was set out to do what he was told.

Relationships:

  • Janine/Jing Qi and Liu Huan/Ming Hai. They were cute and tragic to me. There were many funny scenes between them, even at the beginning when Jing Qi had to focus on revenge for her family. They had their arguments and all. The turnaround for Ming Hai was when she saved him from getting his hand completely chopped. He wasn’t all nice and innocent from that point on, but he had curved back on his attitude and quit his gambling. Their funny moments didn’t end there since they had other adventures too. He was often protective of her. She was touched at times, but others had to stop him when he was getting way over. That was just before the imprisonments. I didn’t think their ending was going to be that tragic. What broke my heart was when the script steered toward how he was set up with the fake fiancee. It was a very cliche plot device because many other TV series had used it before, like the whole drunk and gotten someone pregnant bit. He had never been a player and was loyal to Jing Qi YET was brought down by that scheme. It was his own fault for getting drunk–regardless if he was upset or trusted Xiao Ruo Yun too much, but did he need that lesson to learn and grow? I felt like the scriptwriters were slapping the audience at that point. The most devastating part was when Jing Qi was forced to convince Ming Hai to accept the marriage arrangement, i.e. the bicycle ride and then how she talked to him about it, knowing that she would hate herself for forcing him like that but also using herself to threaten him with, “Do you believe that I’ll leave and never come back? That means you won’t see me anymore.” She wasn’t able to take it anymore and ran off after that. He turned and yelled after her, “Why are you forcing me?” It was really heartbreaking, especially with how the ending theme song was playing in the background too. When Ming Hai appeared again years later, I thought it was finally their chance because it was never the right time for them–or so it seemed. But I was wrong. He was a lot calmer than his past rash self. I guess it was unfair to say he was stupid, but it was more like he used to be so reckless and impatient that it had caused him troubles. He was calmer later hence being able to think of better solutions or at least reconsider all matters before acting. He did die an honorable death yet that didn’t make it any less frustrating and heartbreaking for both him and Jing Qi. It seemed subtle that Jing Qi didn’t react enough when she returned to the battleground and found out that he’d died along with the others. But I think up to that point, she was already numbed from the pain. Yes, she was devastated (through her eyes it was obvious), but she was once again forced to be strong for the kids. I think her mourning of him was already captured the first time around when everyone thought he was dead. So they didn’t need to justify more on how much Jing Qi loved him. It wasn’t about the amount of crying, but what she was doing in honor of his death–just like how she told Xiao Ruo Yun that one time.
  • Janine/Jing Qi and Guo Dong Dong/Ma Zhi Yuan. Their friendship was complicated from the start. They kept switching sides that it was hard to predict where it was going. Well, more like they were on different sides at times but tried to maintain a good type of relationship throughout. Their biggest fight was probably when Ming Hai died (the first time) and not his father’s death. Sure, he was upset, devastated, blood-thirsty after his father’s death, and wanted revenge only. After he calmed down, he understood why she had to stop him from getting himself killed, but needed more time to accept what had happened. He eventually found a new way to avenge his father’s death and also seek justice for others who had been wronged by Xiao Jin Shui. Anyway, getting back to their big fight. Ming Hai’s death was a strong blow for Jing Qi (obviously) and she hated that Zhi Yuan used her as an opportunity to get to Ming Hai. He was really in a hard spot and had to use all means to seek justice for innocent victims who died during the riot Ming Hai and the other robbers caused. Yet at that point, Jing Qi was too devastated and upset to care about those, and because she trusted him not to use her so that hurt. Yeah, I keep stating the obvious again, but I thought that would be their ultimate ending, like they were no longer friends or have any type of peaceful link with one another. Jing Qi did kick him out of the Du resident when he came to offer his explanation or whatever. I was wrong. The time shift showed that they were back on the same side, because of the war moving toward them and how they had to unite to make sure the locals were safe. Not only were they uniting for that cause, but they were getting along quite well again. Perhaps, it was after Jing Qi had cooled down and understood Zhi Yuan’s situation so she had forgiven him. Like I said below (yeah, I wrote that before I jumped back to discuss these two, lol), I wouldn’t mind if they had ended up together-if things were different. Like somehow they survived it all. It was like I said in his character analysis, he wasn’t a show-off like some others. He was humorous at times and did confess to her several times, wanting to take care of her, but he wasn’t outright playing the victim or getting others to hate her because she didn’t accept him. He respected her for who she was, even if there were disagreements at times.
  • Janine/Jing Qi and Huang Kai Xiang/Zhou Shan Kou. They were never romantically involved and it was a one-sided thing from Zhou Shan Kou. What they had was respect and the mutual interest for medicine. However, because of his persistence in gaining her affection and whatnot with other agendas, he lost her in the end. Sure, it was frustrating to him that she didn’t like him, etc. But he had to just hurt people around her that had driven her to take the extreme move in the end. (Personally, I was glad Jing Qi didn’t fall for him. If she really had to be with someone in the end, I rather it was Zhi Yuan.)
  • Janine/Jing Qi and Duanmu Chonghui/Xiao Ruo Yun. Because Ming Hai’s love for Jing Qi, they were rivals from the start. However, their story development was worth reflecting on after all that was said and done. I found it interesting that they ended up being more than just merely friends but possibly good sisters. Ruo Yun hated Jing Qi because of Ming Hai and even justified her behaviors on many accounts for whatever reasons she could muster up. It was even stranger to see how Jing Qi tried to comfort Ruo Yun during Xiao Jin Shui’s execution, considering how she almost got killed by him. That was one of the reasons why Jing Qi was different than the others, being able to separate Ruo Yun’s actions from her brother’s. Ruo Yun scolded Jing Qi for being a hypocrite and more at the scene when she shoved Jing Qi out. That was probably a frustrating scene and I seriously wanted Jing Qi to just ignore that crazy girl. Yet I guessed because of Jing Qi’s patience after so long, Ruo Yun was able to understand Jing Qi. They were able to form an alliance, in the end, not letting others witness any more catfights between them. The turnaround moment for Ruo Yun was definitely the talk between the two when Jing Qi was trying to wake Ruo Yun up from her drunken state and her destructive behaviors after Ming Hai’s supposed death. Jing Qi had confessed to Ruo Yun of how she was fascinated by Ming Hai’s aura after he was released from prison (their first meeting) and how he was untouched by all of that negativity. He was still able to reflect a sense of energy and radiance that was full of life. Anyway, Ruo Yun’s death was also the final straw that led Jing Qi to fight back against her brother fully. Previously, she was just ignoring him and turning down his offer of joining him and living in luxuries. Although that seemed cold to people, she was still holding back a little just because he was her brother. But after Ruo Yun’s death, she was done with him–or gave up on any small piece of hope that he might turn back.
  • Janine/Jing Qi and Xie Wen Xuan/Du Ming Xi. They started out not getting along yet later became good sisters (like how it was with Ruo Yun). In her case, Ming Xi misunderstood Jing Qi’s intention because she was too focused on Zhi Yuan. After accidentally causing Ma Wan Nian’s death, she sought Jing Qi’s help to convince Zhi Yuan to forgive her. Although Jing Qi turned her down and told her to leave so Zhi Yuan could calm down, but Ming Xi didn’t blame that on Jing Qi or made things even worse. Her main goal was to seek Zhi Yuan’s forgiveness hence going after him and trying to make up for what she’d done. When she returned again, she had matured and ended up contributing greatly to her country. Not only that, but she’d ended up recruiting Jing Qi to help her cause. Jing Qi indeed helped her several times–with providing medications and plotting for her escape from the dangerous territory. They were the last two survivors of the final battle and probably need to carry on and be stronger for others.
  • Janine/Jing Qi and Zhou Tie/Du Ming Jiang. They were siblings yet their relationship was intense at first–because of the obvious reason that Ming Jiang wanted to eliminate Jing Qi and take over at the Du resident. However, it didn’t seem to improve after he found out Jing Qi was his sister. Sure, it was shocking to realize the person he schemed against was his sister all along. Yet what totally was nonredeemable for him was how he tried to use Jing Qi and Zhi Yuan’s connection to get out of prison and/or his death sentence. He only acknowledged her because he had another agenda. Was Jing Qi too cold toward him after learning of their real connection? Was she too cruel to brush off his attempts to mend the situation after he’d already sided with the Japanese army? I tried to answer those questions along the way since other TV dramas would be all over that with the whole mushy dramas and trying to get him to turn back and somehow make it a happy ending. In the end, I was glad it played out the way it was and I didn’t blame Jing Qi. He was beyond help. He always made excuses regardless of situations. She did try to talk to Zhi Yuan and tried to bond with him during the time he was imprisoned yet he wasn’t listening to her unless she would toss herself at Zhi Yuan to save him. It was so despicable that I didn’t care that she’d brushed him off after he returned (from the dead-supposedly). He was always about himself.
  • Liu Huan/Du Ming Hai and Guo Dong Dong/Ma Zhi Yuan. Their families were business rivals and then it escalated on a personal level later on after Zhi Yuan’s grandfather’s death. They didn’t get along much because of how rouge Ming Hai was at times and how Zhi Yuan was a cop at first. Their rivalry increased even more when they both liked Jing Qi. However, it was somewhat senseless fighting, and it wasn’t to the point where they would use despicable means to eliminate one another. They managed to work together several times, i.e. hostage situations. They were even there for one another when conflicts arose. What drove them apart completely as in drawing a definite line was how Ming Hai had become the leader of the robbers and Zhi Yuan the head of the police force. It was hard to keep their peace. It was their duty to their own people. Then at the end, it was like kind of amusing that Ming Hai ended up being the person with a higher rank than Zhi Yaun yet they were able to overcome that little bit and fight alongside one another at the final battle, allowing Jing Qi, Ming Xi, and the kids a safe passage onward.
  • Liu Huan/Du Ming Hai and Xie Wen Xuan/Du Ming Xi. Their sibling relationship was subtle at first when she just appeared. Well, it did show they got along and cared for one another but there wasn’t much since they were focused on their significant others. However, it became more obvious later on near the end when they were both working to fight against the Japanese army. He specifically didn’t want her to be part of it and had listed a legit reason as to why it was more important for her to go with Jing Qi and the others. But it was obvious he didn’t want her in danger. I was glad they had a personal talk near the end, not just with the others, but as siblings.
  • Liu Huan/Du Ming Hai and Duanmu Chonghui/Xiao Ruo Yun. They were childhood friends so it was hard for Ruo Yun to accept that Ming Hai wasn’t into her. However, it was really frustrating to see how she betrayed him like that regarding the trap and the fake fiancee schemes. Sure, it was his own damn fault for getting drunk in the first place and giving other advantages in harming him yet he trusted her, so it was really frustrating to see. She rather see him in some other woman’s arms than Jing Qi’s? Nice going, she got her wish. She did want to back out when she saw how much Ming Hai was hurting with needing to fulfill other wishes’ and also take responsibilities for what he’d done–even if it was all a trap, but it wasn’t enough for her to speak up since she didn’t want Ming Hai to hate her if he’d found out. Their friendship was strange throughout, but I thought that was seriously messed up. Although I was glad that they got to meet again one last time before her tragic ending.
  • Guo Dong Dong/Ma Zhi Yuan and Wang Quan You/Ma Wan Nian. Like I said previously, I loved seeing their father and son banters at times. It somewhat helped with the intensity going on with the other parts of the plot. I especially liked those scenes when they were kneeling in front of the ancestors’ shrines and offering incenses. Ma Wan Nian kept guilt-tripping his son yet in a hilarious monotone to his father and other ancestors that his son wasn’t helping the cause, etc. It was an attempt to get Zhi Yuan to quit being a cop and return home to help with the family business. Their story turned tragic later and it was really heart-wrenching to see Zhi Yuan not being able to do anything. Not until later, that was. The scene at the funeral was worth tons of tears.
  • Guo Dong Dong/Ma Zhi Yuan and Xie Wen Xuan/Du Ming Xi. It was a one-sided thing with Ming Xi liking Zhi Yuan initially. I thought it was at a point of no return when she accidentally and unintentionally caused his father’s death. However, by the time the ending rolled around, there was a possibility with them. Considering how they had matured over the years and seen beyond things. It was the part where she was teaching others a song and he was on his round of surveillance and saw them by the river hence earning a tease from Xie Tou. Perhaps, if he had survived, it was a possible route?
  • Guo Dong Dong/Ma Zhi Yuan and Duanmu Chonghui/Xiao Ruo Yun. They weren’t romantically involved–or the least bit interested in one another in that way. I just wanted to put them in to have a little discussion. What I found fascinating and somehow amusing was how they started out on the opposite side yet ended up on the same side. Yes, what her brother did, she shouldn’t be held accountable for, but she usually either turned a blind eye (she can’t do anything anyway) or didn’t care (like how many wives he had) or truly didn’t know. She even cursed Zhi Yuan for causing the death of her brother and how he used his position to seek revenge, etc. They obviously weren’t on the same side, considering how the conflicts of both families had escalated, especially with the death of his father and later her brother. Fast forward, years later, she fought alongside him and even bragged about how she used to live among the robbers, showing him that she was able to take care of herself and was capable of handling a gun or two.
  • Duanmu Chonghui/Xiao Ruo Yun and Zhang Rui Han/Xiao Jin Shui. I actually felt that they were loyal and true to one another–well, as best as they knew how. I hated Xiao Jin Shui for everything that he stood for, but somehow I unexpectedly cried at the part where he knelt to ask for his sister’s forgiveness. That was quite a touching scene between the two. He had his struggles when Du Ming Jiang offered a solution to the whole marriage mishaps. I thought it might be a redeeming quality to his character that he would go against it to the end, but he caved in so he was unforgivable in that matter. However, like I said, I cried during the exchange between the siblings. It was indeed tragic to see how he had betrayed her trust. The scene where he was executed and how he tried to get her to stay away was worth noting. Yet it was unforgivable that his love for his sister wasn’t enough for him to cease his actions. He didn’t even think of other people’s sisters or families when he’d inflicted pain and tragedies onto others. Same for Ruo Yun when she sprung the trap on Ming Hai when he wasn’t the one responsible for the marriage trap. So that was why I was mad at her for bestowing pain onto others when they weren’t at fault for it. She was just taking it out on others. Somehow, she got her chance to turn back, because she finally understood Jing Qi and what Ming Hai actually stood for.

Like(s):

  • The pace. Yes, definitely the pace although it was 43 episodes. But I think that would be considered as short for recent dramas. Anyway, for a rare TV series of recent, it was plot-driven, not character-driven. Sure, they showed major developments of different characters throughout. But the series was definitely plot-driven since they were moving forward regardless. I will admit some parts were somewhat draggy, but it wasn’t too bad. The fact that the sequence of the revenge plot was fast helped as well. It was after all a misunderstanding so dragging it out to the point that Jing Qi couldn’t undo the damage would be too cruel and frustrating. After that, they moved on to other stories and that helped with developing other characters as well so it was just right with the flow. Sure, like I complained throughout, there were some stories that could do without, but the plot did move forward eventually.
  • The bonding between various female characters in here. I expected major catfights and those typical women population against each other, etc. It was already obvious with different love rivals and the scheming with He Da Lian. However, I was glad that they maneuvered past that eventually and somehow turned the plot around, making it so that He Da Lian had ended up trusting Jing Qi as well, not picking on her anymore. Not to mention how they resolved the subtle jealousy Ming Xi had for Jing Qi initially. (Even though it was because of another tragedy unfolding.) Then the fact that Jing Qi finally woke Ruo Yun up from her drunken phase. They somehow gotten along and even managed to join forces to aid their country in their own way, contributing to a larger picture.
  • Not overly romancing everything. Okay, people are probably laughing right now since the plot had a lot of romance and all. I think what I’m trying to say here is that they didn’t force the happiness throughout and how they didn’t make the ending completely happy and shining on purpose either. Considering the time they lived in, it was harder to believe that everything was all shining once again. There would be a time in the future, but the point where they were at, it was too much of a stretch to just make everything gift-wrapped.
  • The ending theme “The Years Like Song” by Xu He Bin. It was a very touching song and aided greatly with some of the Ming Hai and Jing Qi scenes.

Dislike(s):

  • Lack of exposure/clarifying/outing some of the major conspiracies in here. Sure, we–as the audience–learned many things throughout and Jing Qi ended up learning those too. Yet some parties and characters were never exposed completely. I guess it would be overkill to repeat of Ming Jiang’s crime during the part where Du Yuan Shan revealed of Ming Jiang’s true identity (answering Jing Qi’s question). But what about the fake fiancee schemes? Jing Qi was taking the high road and wanting to save face for the Du family, but that was really an easy way out for them both. Sure, getting Xiao Jin Shui into the whole situation was going to be troublesome too (like stated in some sections above), but didn’t Ming Hai and some of the others deserve to know that the person Ming Hai married was actually fake? What was even more frustrating was adding in the part where the fake fiancee was pregnant as well so it was harder to even say anything. Then there was the whole why didn’t Sun Miao Han say anything if she was suspicious of the matter instead of waiting until it was too late aka the scheme was over with, the wedding was done with? Really? She didn’t think to bring it up during the time when they were pondering if the girl was really the fiancee? Like the whole questioning process? (That was before Ming Hai got drunk and the inevitable happened.)
  • The one lackey who was spying on this one higher authority dude for Xiao Jin Shui got away. Okay, some of the major villains got their karma eventually, but what about that guy? I don’t want gift-wrapped, but I felt it was frustrating to see him getting away with it. At least let some other characters know about him, not just the audience, and leave it there like that. This probably fitted with the one above with not exposing stuff, but since only the audience know, I thought it was best to leave it here.

Goofs/Oops/Whatever Else:

  • Jing Qi and Ming Jiang’s ages. I didn’t get it. I swear it was weird. She was supposedly really young when her parents died yet in the scene where she was calculating the numbers, it showed a flashback of her father teaching her a special calculation technique. I know she was a smart person, but seriously that was really stretching it. Then it didn’t help that the younger versions of them looked much older. I was guessing Ming Jiang was 10-12 at that point and Jing Qi was 8-10 at that point. I don’t know.
  • Jing Qi appeared scared of Ming Jiang’s authority and even didn’t seem to suspect him when she returned to the Du resident to help out with the business. It was after they suspected that Ming Jiang had something to do with Du Yuan Shan’s illness and then moved him to the orphanage. It was super weird that Jing Qi was scared of him when he disciplined her regarding some matters. Seriously, he needed their help from the start hence pretending to be nice, heading to the orphanage with some goodies to lure them in. How could Jing Qi be scared of him? Then she seemed to forget that she was supposed to be suspicious of him? I understand that she wanted to return to save the Du family business from collapsing because it was Du Yuan Shan’s hard work and all. But why had she stopped suspecting Ming Jiang? Or so it seemed. That was super odd.
  • The kids aren’t growing? I’m talking about Wang Cong Ming and some other kids before, not Ming Hai’s kid and his godson. The years passed and we saw how Jing Qi was still taking care of the kids throughout the years so why weren’t they growing? I thought that was odd. They did somewhat later, but I thought from the beginning of the story until the first time jump of the “3 years later”, they should at least grow a bit more.

Recommended? I think if you’re a fan of Janine, it’s a must-watch. However, not happy ending, considering how the era was. Not totally a failure, but it wasn’t a total win.

Catch it on iQiyi if you’re interested to check it out for yourself.

Female Butler: First Impressions

(image credit: as marked)

So I was wrong, lol. I initially thought it was a comedy. Well, at first, like I said in the other post. But the drama started out quite intense, setting up our female lead for a lifetime of vengeance and hatred. I’m on episode 9 and still can’t wait to see what else is going on. I’ve been catching it on iQiyi. Anyway, Janine’s character, Wu Xiao Qi (吳小七), was on the journey with her adopted father to find the one responsible for killing her whole family. She was using another name so her enemies wouldn’t know. Through different misunderstandings and rough patches along the way, she finally entered the household of her enemy. Her next moves would have to be both cautious and cunning, because those within the Du family were of various types, whether scheming with one another or other hidden agendas. Before she entered the Du household though, she had somehow met with several major characters, such as the sons of the Du and the Ma families. Both families were actually rivals in business and held personal grudges toward one another. Although Xiao Qi previously had some disagreements with the Du family’s second son, Du Ming Hai (杜明海), they later resolved their differences and even helped each other–due to outer circumstances. Du Ming Hai is actually our male lead of the drama. Although Liu Huan isn’t handsome (according to some online comments that I finally could turn off), but he’s charming on many levels. His presence somewhat toned down the conflicts going on in the whole chaotic situations–even if he was actually responsible for some of the disagreements along the way too. What I’m more curious of now is who Xiao Qi’s brother is (which we as viewers know he is still alive) and if the situation of sixteen years ago was all a misunderstanding, i.e. if Du Yuan Shan (杜远山) was just arriving at the wrong time and ended up being blamed for the murders of Xiao Qi’s family. Yet I think I couldn’t sympathize with the Du family at all, except for Ming Hai and his mother. I rather side with Ma Wan Nian (马万年), even though I do not like his son that much either. Yes, Ma Zhi Yuan (马致远) tried to help Xiao Qi and was obviously in love with her, but I find his typical “nice guy” character a turn off. Not to mention, if he didn’t like her, would he meddle into some of the matters? (Just saying.) And yes, Ming Hai was rogue and somewhat despicable at times, but I liked it that he actually tried to save Xiao Qi at the harbor when they were still in disagreement with one another. He didn’t even like her then so that showed me of his true character. But what I found interesting and liked between the two guys was during the harbor scene when Zhi Yuan tossed the gun toward Ming Hai so Ming Hai could shoot the other guy to save the hostage. It was a scene worth mentioning because it showed they were able to collaborate–without Xiao Qi’s nagging. It also showed that they were able to separate themselves from their families’ senseless conflicts. Anyway, I might do some side updates later or save for review. We’ll see if I change my mind on some characters.

Chinese Paladin I

WARNING: NOT my usual positively cheerful post SO READ at your own risk. IF you disagree, it’s okay. But I DO NOT hope to strike any arguments with anyone. Take it as differences in opinions and that was just my take on it. I DID NOT aim to be right OR had a purpose in pulling anyone down. It was just my own opinion and my interpretation of the characters and/or plot.

What I enjoyed about it were:

  • The brilliant characters created in here, like Xiao Yao, Yue Ru, Tang Yu, Ah Nu, and other minor characters.
  • The fantasy concept. Although some parts were quite twisted, it was all right since they could call it in the name of creativity or whatever.
  • The chemistry between Xiao Yao and Yue Ru–from friends to lovers. They matched for wit and humor. Both of their actings were so awesome that they made it more real, more convincing. I loved their interactions throughout and their tacit understanding of each other. Although they weren’t from the same background (only the same that they both lost their mothers when young), they became good friends/ companions throughout, fighting many evils as well as learning the many things of life together. A great duo as a team and as lovers. Hu Ge proved his acting as the portrayal of a very carefree and mischievous Xiao Yao to a very considerate and honest Xiao Yao later on. Same with Ady An. She was so brilliant and convincing as the spoiled girl to a very considerate and sacrificing Yue Ru.
  • Tang Yu and Ah Nu. Yes, I ran across quite a few people that hated Ah Nu, etc. But I loved the fact that she was so innocent at the beginning and then turned out to be more mature and considerate toward the end (although through such tragic incidents). At her age, what would she think of but pure fun and food? (Yes, others would be more, but not her.) She had a pure and innocent heart, not wanting to hurt others, only wanting to be friends, etc. But I also liked the fact that Tang Yu was very understanding of her and always forgave her each time she hurt him. That was what real understanding was and not blaming her versus what happened in other stories. Because he chose to love her on his own, so he never blamed her. Their chemistry was quite cute at the beginning and quite touching toward the ending scenes. People often praised Xiao Yao and Ling Er as the ultimate couple and all those sacrifice stuff, but I honestly thought that Tang Yu and Ah Nu was actually the couple who was truthful throughout. Despite Ah Nu’s innocent nature and Tang Yu’s sense of responsibility toward his country and his godfather, they both stayed true to each other throughout. (It was thought somewhere here and there that she liked Xiao Yao, but it was just an innocent crush.) Nothing could separate them and they did overcome all obstacles, not doubting each other at all. Tang Yu was disappointed with Ah Nu at times, but he then regained his faith and would think to himself of only bringing happiness toward Ah Nu instead of sulking over the fact that he might not get anything in return. Ah Nu–although innocent and might not grasp the concept of love as strong as others–would always trust Tang Yu to be there for her and to protect her against all harm. Their trust and care toward each other were what drove the relationship throughout. After watching this, I realized that Eddie was a great actor of his time and was glad he was becoming more and more popular nowadays. Because he was quite convincing as the honest Tang Yu and also his sly role as Ren Sen Tian in Honey & Clover. As for Esther Liu, I was impressed since she pulled through despite her terrible performance in Westside Story. However, it was her very first role in the other one so could not really blame her. She was really cute and charming in this one, making her character convincing. This had made me change my opinions toward her and her capability in portraying cute roles also. (Click here for Tang Yu and Ah Nu’s own post and a little more breakdown of their characters.)
  • The many friends who would never betray each other no matter what, especially Yue Ru’s cousin portrayed by Bryan Wang. Jin Yuan was always so nice and kind. Although it was because he wanted to protect his friends that his parents died, in the end, he was never astray, even putting himself in the lion’s lair to help his friends gain access to other info and/or try to defeat the evil cult leader himself–if possible. Also, his touching story with the butterfly girl. She was so selfless and sacrificed herself for him since he had saved her, but she also went to the extent of giving up immortality. Great character also.
  • Tse Kwan Ho as Ah Nu’s father and Xiao Yao’s master. Although he might not have reached the enlightening point like his senior, his sense of righteousness and his care for humanity, in general, were very powerful and the drive to change things. He was very stubborn at times, but I liked the fact that he knew he couldn’t change things but would go and try instead of like his senior who would just sit around and wait. His death was quite brief and tragic, but he was known to try once. I loved his relationship with his daughter. They were quite a pair of father and daughter. They were very alike and I especially loved the parts where they went and got drunk together, then slept on the street-side after they got kicked out of the inn. His relationship with Xiao Yao as master and student was quite memorable as well. The part where Xiao Yao remembered back to what he was taught was quite touching too. A great man overall. Tse Kwan Ho’s performance was quite impressive and was one of the main highlights of the show.
  • The cameo or guest appearances of Achel Chang and Joanne Tseng were kind of cute and funny at the same time.
  • Last, but not least, the soundtrack. The songs were quite suitable and good for the whole theme of the series. Although I loved some songs over the others, it was pretty good overall. Hu Ge was not only good at acting but also at singing since he managed to bring his emotion to the songs also, making them more lively.

How come I never mentioned Ling Er/ Liu Yu Fei throughout? Honestly, if it wasn’t for other people’s excellent acting and the story’s many touching events, it wouldn’t work at all with her alone. There were many subplots trying to tie back to Ling Er and get people to accept her, etc. But I felt like if it wasn’t for other contributions, I wouldn’t have finished watching it IF it was only for her. Because the majority of the story was about:

  • Saving Ling Er
  • Finding Ling Er
  • Rescuing Ling Er
  • Protecting Ling Er
  • Helping Ling Er

and so on…

Yes, they tried to make her character a significant part of the story, but I found it quite annoying since the more they tried to make it big and shove it in your face, you will become annoyed. I meant–yes–I understand why she must do this or that or sacrifice for her country. It was almost as going to take her mom’s place and fulfill her duty, but I loved her mom’s character more although the majority was the same. She was always so petty and NOT to mention childish at times although she did mature later. But honestly, she always decided everything for Xiao Yao and others. It was always her who was right and it was supposed to be for the better, but so what? She never respected them enough to tell them. Yes, she cared for them and didn’t want to burden them, but didn’t they get the right to decide? After all, she said that they were friends, so why NOT at least tell them? It was her country’s business, but they were her friends and they were willing. Turning them down was being polite and considerate but doing it once too many times was just fake. There were also many layers of her character that I might like better, because I started out really liking her for her innocence and cuteness (almost like Ah Nu but I was preparing myself to dislike Ah Nu because of Esther and how she couldn’t act cute in Westside Story) BUT I was so annoyed with the character of Ling Er later that I couldn’t stand it anymore. The opposite and surprising thing was I ended up liking Ah Nu/ Esther more than Ling Er/ LYF. Near the ending, after Yue Ru’s death, if it wasn’t for Hu Ge’s excellent portrayal as Xiao Yao, I wouldn’t have made it to the end. Not to mention Tang Yu and Ah Nu’s story, plus her parents, etc.

Some might think I’m favoring Yue Ru/ Ady An right now. But at the beginning, I kind of disliked Yue Ru and usually don’t like loud characters so I was favoring Ling Er/ LYF more since coming into this series, I only know LYF and Esther and was mostly watching because I thought it was kind of funny and LYF was cute. I DID NOT know Ady An at all at that time. But her acting and portrayal and Yue Ru’s character transitions made me like Ady An better. In the future, I don’t know if LYF can pull it off, but Ady An had really built my confidence toward her with her convincing acting and not to mention, the ability to portray different characters because I hunted down The Outsiders, White Robe of Love, and Love Multiplication afterward (not consecutively of course) to watch. I do not want to judge LYF later since I will wait to see her in different types of roles to say something else and if she can portray different types of roles besides the somewhat similar ones being given right now.

And maybe a bad idea, but since it’s like a habit to be comparing Ling Er and Yue Ru, I’ll take a stab too. I’m siding with Yue Ru, mostly blindly throughout but after analyzing it more and as I’m getting toward the ending with the parents’ generation and its many past unfolding, I realized something. If it wasn’t for the scriptwriters making it that way and tying down Xiao Yao to Ling Er, her character would amount to nothing. Examples?

  • Xiao Yao and Ling Er were married like at the beginning of the story–which I thought was kind of fake because I honestly don’t believe in love at first sight and the fact that she had a childish crush on him since young was somewhat irrelevant for getting married.
  • Most of the tragic stories between humans and a non-human/demon usually involved a third party or his inability to accept her as a demon, etc. It somewhat tied it back and pointed out so strongly that Xiao Yao was at fault and how Yue Rue was a third party to make Ling Er a better person. I swear Xiao Yao lost his memory and can’t be at fault for abandoning her, BUT the irony of it was he was always searching for her and she was the one running away (one minute deciding they have to be together and the next taking off). Making Yue Ru feel guilty was lame since she didn’t know they were married either AND after she knew, she did give up although Xiao Yao finally accepted her.
  • Ling Er was essential and can be used to destroy the world. Okay, come on, talking about trying to make her character bigger than other characters so she could shine.
  • Her death scene was ten minutes or more. Okay, I exaggerated but I realized that many other death scenes throughout–there were lots near the end, but none were as long as hers. They made it tragic and dramatic to make an impression on us but it was even more draggy than all the death scenes combined. If it wasn’t for Hu Ge’s awesome acting, I would have given up or tried to fast forward to see what would happen after that.

Those are just my take of it after watching, so it’s all right IF others disagree but I find the pattern too repetitive so gotta share.

Posted: September 14, 2008

Re-posted: Sunday, May 9th, 2010