Remember when LOTTTS of folks loved Where The Lost Ones Go, and I watched the whole thing, and still wondered what the fuss was about?
Er, I think I went and did it again, you guys.
For the record, lots of people love – like, really love – this show. This was recommended to me more than once, and came with descriptors like tropey, fun, but fresh. Now that I’ve watched all 20 episodes of this one, I’m gonna hafta say.. I think I just don’t get it. 😛
Like I said though, lots of people loved this one, so just because I didn’t love it, doesn’t mean that you necessarily won’t either?
OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE
Here’s the OST album in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.
To be honest, I did not like this one immediately.
After the episode 1 mark, I found myself feeling rather bemused at the ridiculous and very illogical plot points, the connect-the-dots writing, and the perfunctory acting. It all felt a lot more mindless than I’d been prepared for, really.
But, because everyone seemed to like this one so much, I decided to adjust my lens to something a lot blurrier, and give this one a bit of time to grow on me. Which it kind of did, by around the episode 3 mark.
STUFF I LIKED
Specifically, I liked that our male lead Yizhou (Xu Kai Cheng) seems to be nursing real feelings for his contract wife Xia Lin (Wang Shuang), and I rather enjoyed how unabashedly sincere he increasingly becomes, in his husbanding efforts. Sure, I wasn’t really sold on the OTP chemistry, and some of the interactions actually felt awkward to my eyes, but I was willing to look past that because I was tickled enough, by the concept of the earnest contract husband.
In the context of that, all the tropes that Show serves up become fun to watch, as Yizhou basically works to make his wife fall in love with him. The way Yizhou looks at Xia Lin is also often tinged with a spot of smolder, which definitely helped to up the crack factor.
So for a while, this drama became rather fun to watch for me, and I even managed to giggle out loud on a couple of occasions, as Show served up the hyper-proximity and other hijinks.
[SPOILER] For example, the shirtless fresh-from-the-shower scene in episode 3 was amusing to watch, and the shocked expressions on An Ran’s and Chu Yan’s faces (Sun Jia Qi and Ian Yi), when they walked in on what looked like a rawr moment, was priceless. And then things just got funnier afterwards, when Xia Lin accidentally knocks Yizhou’s towel off. Oopsie.
In the same episode, Xia Lin trying to test whether Yizhou is actually gay is super awkward, ack. But, I do like how Yizhou turns it around and says with a touch of smolder in his eye, that he’s very willing to demonstrate via his actions that he’s very interested in women. Ahem. [END SPOILER]
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE
Basically, everything started going south for me after the episode 10 mark. Not only is Something revealed that just made me really angry, every other narrative arc after this point, felt like the writers were throwing everything and the kitchen sink at this story. It just didn’t feel like Show knew where it was going. Or, maybe it knew where it ultimately wanted to go, but wasn’t opposed to randomly bouncing off the walls until it was time to arrive at its destination.
Here’s a look at The Thing, and then an overview of the other things, that just didn’t work for me.
In episode 10, just when our OTP is getting along, Xia Lin finds out that she never had Leukemia, and that this was all a ruse set up by Yizhou so that she’d seek him out and agree to a contract marriage. Um. WHUT. That is ridiculous, and I simply cannot excuse the fact that Yizhou basically commits fraud faking hospital records, so that he can put the woman he claims to love, through extreme emotional and mental trauma, thinking she’s terminally ill, SO THAT she will seek him out as her (fake) donor, SO THAT he can get her to agree to a contract marriage with him.
I mean. In what world is this ok?!? Grargh. This made me so flippin’ mad, I tell ya. Whatever happened to liking someone and treating them nicely?
To Show’s credit, Xia Lin does take him to task for it, and even moves out of the marital home because she’s so angry with him, but she forgives him and takes him back quite quickly, which didn’t sit so well with me.
The Other Things
1. What Show presents as romantic
The deeper I got into Show’s episodes, the more it became clear that Show’s idea of romance leans on the.. er, controlling and domineering side.
Yizhou has a habit of telling Xia Lin exactly what she’s allowed and not allowed to do, and he also has a habit of manhandling her, sometimes to the extent that she looks like an object being carried around. Additionally, later in the Show, when our couple is in a relationship proper (ie, no longer married by contract), Yizhou regularly asks for sex in return for favors, which didn’t sit well with me either.
All of this leads me to conclude that if you’re the kind of viewer that hates it when a man is overprotective and won’t let you be truly independent, then you’d likely find a lot of Yizhou’s so-called sweet and romantic actions suffocating and stifling instead.
For example, in episode 11’s epilogue, we see that when Xia Lin moves out of Yizhou’s house and goes house-hunting, Yizhou’s still secretly keeping tabs on the situation, and when it looks like Xia Lin will move back into her old apartment, he orders his assistant to just buy the apartment from the landlord. To some people, that’s going to look sweet because he’s trying to be protective. To others, that’s going to look controlling, because he won’t even let her rent an apartment on her own without getting involved.
Another example that didn’t land well for me, is in episode 14, when Yizhou chases down the bus that Xia Lin is in. The way he plucks her off the bus despite her protests, then puts her in the car, then kisses her before getting in the car himself, might be Show’s idea of romance, but it was pretty cringey from my perspective. There’s just something very “He-man knows better” about it which I might’ve been taken with in the past, but just doesn’t work for me now.
2. Everything and the kitchen sink
Basically, there’re a lot of narrative arcs that I didn’t care for very much, but which Show insisted on serving up, sometimes on an extended basis. For the record, in Show’s second half there’s:
- Fakeout death of a key character
- Scheming unrepentant second lead who turns evil for unrequited love
- Paternal angst
- Maternal angst
- Step-sibling angst
- Kidnapping. Lots of kidnapping
- Very misplaced revenge scheming
The deeper I got into Show’s episodes, the more my eyes glazed over at these narrative arcs that Show insisted on serving up. I just couldn’t get into it.
WHAT KEPT ME GOING
You would probably be wondering by now why I didn’t drop this show, since it wasn’t working for me on so many levels.
Basically, it was two things.
One, there’s a burgeoning loveline between Yizhou’s assistant Wen Li (Huang Qian Shuo) and Xia Lin’s bestie Jia Fei (Liu Jia Xi), and I thought they would make a cute couple. I also thought there was lots of potential for hijinks, with Jia Fei operating under the mistaken assumption that Wen Li’s gay and is holding a torch for Yizhou.
Two, I was kinda curious as to how Show would end, what with all the various complications that it had introduced.
Was I rewarded for my patience? Well, maybe a little?
[MINOR-ISH SPOILER] Wen Li does eventually make his feelings known to Jia Fei, and I thought it was rather sweet that such an introverted man, who’d never thought he would love someone, would be able to express his feelings to the woman he loves.
On the other hand, the kidnapping arc which occupies most of Show’s final few episodes, is just mindnumbingly bad. It feels like Show is just bloating up the screen time with Xia Lin’s repeated attempts to escape, and I didn’t even understand the code that Xia Lin sends in the drawing in the end, that tells Yizhou where she is. [END SPOILER]
At least it got me to the ending – which I’ll talk about now.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
Dude. This counts as one of the most underwhelming finales I’ve ever watched, seriously.
Let me back up a bit.
Episode 19 was when I hit a wall with this show, and couldn’t carry on without heavy use of the Fast Forward button, because it felt excruciating to watch otherwise.
So in episode 19, Mom turns out to actually be a Heartless Person, who never actually cared that much for Yizhou to begin with. Which makes no sense, since she’d started seeking out Yizhou long before this opportunity to attempt a takeover of his company, and had seemed to miss him over the years, but whatever. I was just glad to get through all the business wars coz that was boring even when watched in Fast Forward. By the end of the episode, Yizhou wakes up from his coma, and it looked like we were finally on track for a happy ending.
Which we kind of were, until Nan Jintian (Yang Hao Ming) comes back from the presumed dead and kidnaps Xia Lin all over again, which, argh. Headdesk. Coz, have we not had enough of this kidnapping thing yet?
Long story short, Nan Jintian gets taken down by the police, and we time skip to Yizhou and Xia Lin’s second wedding anniversary. Wen Li breaks out the guitar and sings a (terribly out of tune) love song to Jia Fei, and proposes. She gladly accepts, and while everyone’s cheering for Wen Li to kiss his girl good and proper (truth be told, it’s a lot less elegant than I make it sound. It was more like everyone chanting while clapping in unison, “Tongue, tongue, tongue..!” Which, cringe), Xia Lin goes into labor.
The epilogue shows us that Yizhou proceeds to mind the baby in the midst of meetings at the office, while Xia Lin goes back to work, which, okayy. The writers of this drama must have never cared for a baby before, coz that’s basically impossible. In the meantime, Chu Yan deepens his friendship with Xiaoyou, with him rescuing her from her bodyguards, and her rescuing him from nosy reporters. The end.
Clearly, I don’t sound very impressed with Show’s finale, but that’s also due in part to how Show stopped working for me pretty early on. I think if you enjoyed all the bits that I didn’t like, that you’d probably be quite satisfied with where Show leaves us, because Show does stay true to its general tone.
As for me, I really should’ve dropped out once I realized that Show and I weren’t a good match. Sigh.. Could’ve, should’ve.. I’ll learn my lesson next time, I promise. 😛
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Objectively pretty terrible, but if you feel the cracky bite you in spite of it all, then this could work for you.
FINAL GRADE: C+