Review: Someday Or One Day [Taiwan]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Smartly written, deftly executed, and wonderfully acted, Someday Or One Day is a gem of a show that feels like it’s head and shoulders above its peers. Intricate and clever, yet full of emotional heft, Show is a rare creature that does an excellent and consistent job of engaging both the mind and the heart.

Our main cast is strong and unfailingly delivers well-rounded, faceted performances, but the stand-out for me is male lead Greg Hsu, who crept under my skin and stole my heart when I wasn’t looking.

Altogether fantastic, and well worth the watch.

THE LONG VERDICT:

Someday Or One Day is a show that aims to blow my mind and steal my heart, which is something that The King: Eternal Monarch attempted to do, but – in my personal experience anyway – did not manage to achieve in any substantial way. This show, though, manages to blow my mind and steal my heart so well, and in such a consistent manner, that I am left quite breathless after my watch. My mind is whirling and my heart is tied up in knots, and I want to serve up my heart to Show all over again, on a platter.

This is a rare, rare thing indeed, and I am honestly very reluctant to put this show to bed and move on.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

This is one of those shows where it’s best to go in blind. The less you know about this story, the better, because everything will feel that much fresher to you.

As early as episode 2 of my watch, I began to realize how critical it’s been, for fans of this show to not give anything away, to those who haven’t seen this show. Everyone who’d recommended this show to me had said about the same thing; that this is so good, but they can’t say more. I am grateful for that, because going in mostly blind really added to my enjoyment of this show.

I guess if you have to know something about it, then here’s what I knew before going into this one – and what I think is enough for anyone to know, going in: this is a romance, and there is a fantasy element involved in the way of time travel.

..And that’s it. Honestly, it’s best not to know much at all, going in. Go watch it, and then come back.

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.

I didn’t immediately love the music in this show, even though it struck me as pleasant enough. I have to say, though, that as I progressed through my watch, I found that the songs had gotten under my skin in a big way. I’d wake up and randomly find one of these songs swirling in my head on loop. This almost never happens to me, so this is saying A Lot, about how effective and earwormy these songs are.

If I had to pick a favorite, it’d be the title track, Someday Or One Day, for its whimsical poignance, that reverberates with the main themes of this show. A close second would be Last Dance, which brings back so many of the feels that this show serves up. Really good. ❤️

If you prefer, here’s the title track Someday Or One Day, which you can loop:

[MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGH THE REST OF THE REVIEW. DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SHOW!]

STUFF I LIKED

The writing and execution

In my opinion, the stand-out star of this show, is the writing. Is it completely seamless and perfect? Well, no. I will list some of the minor cracks in Show’s logic later in this review. But let  me just say that even with these minor cracks, the writing is still stellar.

It’s cool without needing to be fancy

It’s just so clever, and so fresh, without needing to go all fancy to try to be clever and fresh. It just is smart. It uses the same pieces that are available to every other split-timeline story, and just shuffles them differently, and uses them differently, to get that unique and interesting result that sets it apart from other shows. Show doesn’t require an expensive budget with lots of CGI, or fancy world-building or multi-universe hopping in order to try to be different. It just uses its available tools smartly, and it’s so effortlessly good at it. I love it.

From beginning to end, I consistently found myself unable to guess where Show was planning to go with its story, and it was such a refreshing feeling to be so uncertain of where Show was going, but yet feeling confident that I was in good hands. This is the best kind of “I don’t know what’s going on” sort of feeling, for me. And, after having been a drama fan for 13 years, this is extra rare and precious.

It engages both heart and mind

Possibly the best thing about Show’s writing and execution, is, even while my brain’s busily trying to piece the answers together, there’s still a lot of room for me to feel for our characters. Often, a drama that requires my brain to work at understanding it, tends to miss my heart (see kdrama Nine). But this show hits me on both counts equally well. I was very intrigued by the logic of our story, but at the same time, I really did feel for our characters. That’s rare and precious too.

It manages to be sweet and poignant at the same time

Show manages to balance these two different tones in a seamless manner, which I found very impressive. No whiplashy feelings here, and this, despite Show sometimes toggling the two very frequently.

A great example of this is the whole of episode 9. This episode, I felt my emotions were given the workout of their lives, being pulled in two very different directions, pretty much at the same time. On the one hand, we have Quan Sheng’s blossoming romance with Yu Xuan in 2010, which is increasingly melty and sweet, and on the other hand, the sweetness is interspliced with the sadness and poignance of Jun Jie’s arc in 2008. By the end of the episode, I almost felt like my heart had been pulverized by a blender and served up on a plate – and I mean that in the best way. The sweetness in 2010 made me want to float away in a cloud of cotton candy, and the pathos in 2008 kept me grounded, and added a strong layer of poignance to everything. Really good.

It manages to juggle everything well

I really like how assured Show feels. The way it manages all the various threads and timelines feels deliberate and skillful. It’s like this drama world is a little globe in the writer’s hand, and our story zooms in and out, while the writer turns that globe around in their palm every once in a while, to change the spot on the globe that we’re focusing on. Threads are left hanging in limbo while we change focus, but we always go back to those threads. They just have to wait their turn, is all.

Except for one secondary detail (which I talk about later in this review), Show manages to keep going back to each of the hanging threads while providing satisfactory answers, and that’s an impressive feat, in my books.

Show plans ahead

A lot of thought is put into mapping our story, and one of the thrills I got, was from seeing how far ahead our writers planned everything out.

A great example is in episode 11, when we see how Zi Wei (Greg Hsu) had gone to visit Yun Ru (Alice Ke) in the hospital after her attack, which is the same scene we’ve seen before, when Yu Xuan first wakes up in Yun Ru’s body – only this time, Psychiatrist (Kenny Yen) is hiding around the corner, in his brother’s body, eavesdropping. Similarly, he was also eavesdropping when Yu Xuan tells Zi Wei and Jun Jie that she remembers her attacker was wearing their school uniform.

This puts a whole new spin on the scenes, without introducing too many new elements. Nicely done – even though I hate the oily aftertaste of seeing Psychiatrist and his crazy eyes intruding on a scene that my brain had previously categorized as sweet, poignant or heartwarming.

Show’s twisty – in the best way

From Show’s first episode to its last, I felt like I was on a rollercoaster; it just had so many good twists up its sleeve. These days, after having watched so many dramas and therefore gaining a measure of instinct for how a story might develop, I am especially thrilled when a show manages to surprise in such a complete way.

Here, for the record, are some of my favorite twists in this show.

Episode 1

This is where it’s critical that I came into this show without any preconceived notion about its workings. I was completely surprised by the reveal that our present-day characters were not the same people as our 1998 characters.

In the beginning, the way Show plays it, it had seemed like the younger characters were our present-day characters in flashback. But when we get to the end of the episode, it kinda blows my mind, that they are different people altogether, with different names and different lives. I loved that surprise, and it raised a whole lot of other questions in my mind, about our characters.

Episode 3 & 4

The way Show played it, by the time I got to the end of episode 3, I was just about convinced that Yu Xuan’s world was the dream, and Yun Ru’s world is reality. I was impressed with this possibility, because that would’ve been a fresh and different way of playing with set-up and framing of our story. BUT, just as I’m reaching for this as a firm conclusion, Show goes and blows my theory to pieces, by bringing Yu Xuan back to her world. And, we see that Lin Zi Wei had followed her off the bus as well, so Yun Ru’s world is real, too. This sent my brain spinning in so many different directions, in the best way.

And then Show does a similar thing in episode 4, by leading me on and then switching things up. This episode, just as I’m fully convinced that Zi Wei and Quan Sheng are most definitely two different people, Show drops an indication that at some point, Yu Xuan concludes that Zi Wei really is Quan Sheng. I couldn’t make head or tail of this, and really hoped that Show had a solid plan to explain how Zi Wei and Quan Sheng could possibly be two different people – and Show lives up to my hopes, gloriously.

Episode 7

We’d been teased with the idea that Zi Wei really is Quan Sheng, so I’d been thinking along the lines of Quan Sheng going back in time and finding himself in Zi Wei’s body, the way Yu Xuan found herself in Yun Ru’s body. But in this episode’s big twist, we see that Zi Wei had gotten into a car accident in 2003, and then woken up in Quan Sheng’s body. WOAH. That puts a WHOLE new spin on EVERYTHING.

The logic also makes perfect sense to me, because while Yu Xuan’s trips to the past have been short(ish) because of her sleep being interrupted in the present, I can totally buy that Zi Wei would’ve likely spent a long time in a coma after that terrible accident, thus enabling him to live as Quan Sheng for years without interruption.

This means that the Quan Sheng that Yu Xuan’s loved all this time, was Zi Wei, ALL ALONG. 🤯 Which means that this relationship between them, has been circular all this time. Zi Wei would’ve sought out Yu Xuan while in Quan Sheng’s body, because of what he’d heard from Yu Xuan when she’d told him about her relationship with Quan Sheng, back in 1998. And the main reason Yu Xuan told Zi Wei everything about Quan Sheng, is because he reminded her so much of Quan Sheng.

Also, this means that when she’d first fallen asleep on her birthday wish of seeing her beloved again, and found herself in front of Zi Wei, her wish had literally come true. She HAD gotten to see her beloved; she just didn’t realize it yet. 🤯

And, the joke about the noodles getting a perm is so circular as well. Quan Sheng had told her the joke, and then remarked that he’d laughed so hard when he’d first heard it. And that’s why Yu Xuan told Zi Wei the joke, as a way of testing the waters. But that turned out to be the actual first time Zi Wei heard the joke, which he laughed hard about, later. Which means that this is a completely circular chain of events. He told her because she’d told him, and vice versa. Mind blown, yet again.

As for the drawing of Yu Xuan running in the rain.. this must mean that Zi Wei recreated the drawing while in Quan Sheng’s body, since the original drawing would’ve been in Zi Wei’s sketchbook. I love that detail, that Yu Xuan discovers that she’s the girl in the drawing, after having had petty jealousies over Quan Sheng waxing lyrical about his first love. Hee.

Also, this makes me so relieved, because it means that the person that Yu Xuan’s loved all this time, isn’t dead. He’s just.. in a different, slightly older body than before.

The entire flashback to 2003, when Zi Wei first found himself in Quan Sheng’s body, really landed with a mounting tension for me. As things were being put in place, and as each piece of the puzzle took its place and things started coming into focus for me, it literally blew my mind and gave me goosebumps, in one fell swoop.

Alice Ke as Yu Xuan / Yun Ru

Alice Ke’s handling of the roles

I have to admit that for a good part of our story, I thought that Alice Ke’s job was comparatively simpler than Greg Hsu’s. Mainly, it was because Yun Run and Yu Xuan are as different as chalk and cheese. Yun Ru is quiet, reticent, awkward and shy, while Yu Xuan is confident, outspoken and assertive. Because, for a long time, the two personalities didn’t really seem to overlap, it had appeared like the easier task, to portray these two as different characters.

However, in episode 12, when Yun Run pretends to be Yu Xuan, Alice Ke has the opportunity to show different shades of these two characters, which I appreciated a great deal. I found her delivery to be nuanced enough to not be quite like either Yun Ru’s old self, and Yu Xuan’s established personality. Instead, it all lands somewhere in-between, which is perfect. There’s enough of the old Yun Ru in there, to make me as a viewer start to question her early on, and there’s also enough of Yu Xuan’s mannerisms in there, to make it believable that Zi Wei would be fooled – at least for a while.

All in all, a solid and admirable job, I thought.

Yu Xuan

I found myself enjoying the loyalty and strength that characterized Yu Xuan.

In 2019, the way she continues to mourn the loss of her boyfriend Quan Sheng, is muted out of consideration for the people around her, but her loyalty to him is deep and enduring, and the strength that is required of her, to carry on with her life despite the tragedy of losing him, is no small deal.

I have to admit that even though Show demonstrates that there are repercussions to Yu Xuan allowing her real personality to shine through while inhabiting Yun Ru’s body, I did enjoy seeing “Yun Ru” blossom in front of her family and schoolmates, with her new personality. I especially got a kick out of how Yu Xuan shut down Yun Ru’s annoying little brother Si Yuan (Lin He Xuan). His shock at his sister now refusing to let him push her around, is great.

The way Yu Xuan goes about luring Yun Ru’s attacker to attack her again, is so ballsy. She’s literally putting herself at risk of bodily harm, in order to save Yun Ru, and I have to admire her for that.

Additionally, I am touched by Yu Xuan’s loyalty to Quan Sheng. In 1998, we see that there are many uncanny similarities between Quan Sheng and Zi Wei. Because of these similarities, I can see why Yu Xuan has those moments when she’s lost in thought, while staring at Zi Wei. I imagine it’d be so easy for her to get confused. But, Yu Xuan demonstrates that she is clear that Zi Wei and Quan Sheng are not the same person, and she isn’t placing her feelings for Quan Sheng on Zi Wei. And until she actually gets an inkling that Zi Wei could actually be Quan Sheng, she never actually entertains feelings for Zi Wei, despite him looking the spitting image of Quan Sheng. I find that strength of heart and mind very appealing.

Yun Ru

We spend a lot less time with Yun Ru comparatively speaking, so it’s not until pretty late in our story, that I found myself having any kind of strong feelings about her as a character. I did find her thoughtful and poetic though, based on the glimpses of her thoughts that we see, via her diary. It’s clear that she’s spent a great deal of time reflecting on life, and her place in the world.

In episode 12, I didn’t like the fact that Yun Ru has turned to the dark side and is pretending to be Yu Xuan in order to experience a relationship with Zi Wei, whom she likes. However, I could understand why she would do that. She likes him a lot and is desperate for his reciprocal affection, and he happens to like Yu Xuan, who’s been inhabiting her body. The temptation to put on Yu Xuan’s personality and pretend to be her, in order to be accepted by him, would understandably be strong.

I did feel very sorry for Yun Ru ini episode 12, because in this episode, it really sucks to be her.

When she’s with Zi Wei, she can’t be herself, and is constantly asking herself what she ought to do, in order to believably appear to be Yu Xuan, who is the one that he truly likes. And when she shows more of her own personality after Zi Wei confronts her about not really being Yu Xuan, the people around her unfailingly tell her that they preferred her when she was more cheerful and sociable. How awful for her, to essentially be told that people didn’t like her, and preferred Yu Xuan. Considering how Yun Ru already had darkish tendencies, which we see in her earlier diary entries, I am not entirely surprised that she decides that death is a better option for her.

I’m glad that Show doesn’t kill her off, though, and Yun Ru gets a second chance at life, with a brighter, more hopeful mindset to go with.

Greg Hsu as Quan Sheng / Zi Wei

Greg Hsu’s handling of the roles

As you might have gathered from my earlier mention of Greg Hsu, I loved – like, really loved – him in this show. ❤️

On a shallow note, I do love his visuals. He’s got a fresh, lively look about him, so clean-cut, with a touch of bedhead that makes him so accessible. And I love his smile. It literally lights up my screen. 😍

Beyond that, though, I think he does a fantastic job with the multiple roles that he plays in our story world. I do think that all three of our leads do a very good job of their roles, but I think Greg Hsu gets to display his range in the most impressive way.

From early on in the show, we can see that Wang Quan Sheng and Lin Zi Wei share more personality traits than Yu Xuan and Yun Ru, just that they exist in different proportions in each character. Quan Sheng has a cheeky, mischievous side to him, but what comes to the forefront more, is his tenderness and sweetness, as Yu Xuan’s boyfriend. In contrast, Zi Wei’s cheeky, mischievous side is much more front-and-center, and he only shows flashes of sweetness. Mostly, he comes across as kinda gangsta, with his rough manner, where he mostly speaks with his jaw jutting out.

The way Greg Hsu presents these same ingredients so differently in each of these characters, is really impressive to me. They feel similar, but at the same time, completely different. I didn’t feel confused as to who’s Quan Sheng and who’s Zi Wei, even early on in our story, and that’s quite an accomplishment, considering that Quan Sheng and Zi Wei share some major personality traits.

And then, when Show introduces original Quan Sheng in episode 8, Greg Hsu impresses me even more. He looks and feels really different as original Quan Sheng. There’s a daintiness about him, especially at the part where Quan Sheng shyly makes his love declaration. Considering that this entire sequence is played without dialogue, that makes the very different rendition of Quan Sheng even more impressive.

Over the course of our story, we meet different iterations of Zi Wei, and Greg Hsu’s delivery of them, is always nuanced and complex. It’s always a mix of emotions on display, never a one-note interpretation.

As Li Zi Wei in 1998, he’s rough, loud and kinda gangster, but the warmth still peeks through. As Zi Wei, newly transported to Quan Sheng’s body in 2010, he starts out kinda loud and rough, probably from being new to being in Quan Sheng’s skin, but it isn’t long before he settles, and he vibes more jokester than little gangster, and that is peppered with increasingly melty stretches, where the way he looks at Yu Xuan, full of searching and tenderness, just gets me in a big ol’ puddle. And then as Zi Wei in 2008, trying to get through to Jun Jie, there’s so much emotion and pathos, as he spends time with his best friend, who’s hurting and suffering from self-loathing. Augh. Greg Hsu does all of this with aplomb and I am blown away. 🤩

Quan Sheng

We don’t spend much time at all with Quan Sheng, but credit to Show’s skilled handling and Greg Hsu’s excellent delivery, I felt my heart go out to him in just a few short minutes, when Show introduces his story in episode 8, in a short but impactful highlight reel. How heartbreaking, that he’d been bullied and felt so rejected for being gay, that he’d attempted suicide. 😭

This certainly explains why he’d be in a coma, after being rescued, and Zi Wei waking up in Quan Sheng’s body really feels reminiscent of the way Yu Xuan woke up in Yun Ru’s body after a traumatic experience. And while it makes sense that Zi Wei being in a coma makes it possible for him to live as Quan Sheng for an extended period of time, it makes me wonder what happened to Quan Sheng. I assume he’s in Zi Wei’s body for the duration of the coma, but when Zi Wei wakes up, what happens to Quan Sheng?

There’s a small chance that the original Wang Quan Sheng isn’t dead, since his body hasn’t been found, but as far as we can tell, it seems like he went back to his own body, only to die in a plane crash. That’s just so tragic. 😭😭

Zi Wei: 1998

Like I mentioned earlier, I found 1998 Zi Wei kinda gangsta in his mannerisms, but I found his easy warmth charming, and his smile, completely disarming.

I loved Zi Wei for the lack of judgment and bias when it came to other people. I love how Zi Wei’s easy acceptance of people shines through, both in how he became friends with Jun Jie, and in how he becomes friends with Yun Ru. His acceptance is fast and fuss-free, and once that’s in place, he’s quick to defend, and doesn’t hold back. There’s a purity about Zi Wei which I can’t help but like.

I also really appreciate his honesty and loyalty. When Yun Ru confesses her feelings for him, he is quick to set the record straight, so that he doesn’t lead her on. And he remains considerate of Jun Jie’s feelings, even when he himself develops feelings for the new Yun Ru, who really is Yu Xuan.

When Zi Wei falls for Yu Xuan, his love for her becomes something that’s so deep and pure, that it melted my heart. I love how Zi Wei is able to tell that the girl that he’s spending time with, in episode 12, isn’t really Yu Xuan. His acute longing for Yu Xuan, whether he believed she’d gone back to 2019 without a word, or whether he thought she really was a figment of Yun Ru’s imagination, really gets to me. His pained expression, and the loss that’s shining in his eyes, is so palpable that it basically reaches out of my screen and knocks me breathless.

Zi Wei: 2019

I have a huge soft spot for 2019 Zi Wei, who consistently looks in Yu Xuan’s direction with so much wistful longing. I really buy that he’s in love with her, but believes that she will never love him. Each time we see his sad, wistful expression, it hits me in the heart.

In episode 9, I felt so bad for Zi Wei, who’s basically given himself one task to accomplish in 2008, and that is to prevent Jun Jie’s suicide. To think that he did everything he could, but missed saving Jun Jie by mere seconds. Ack. I can only imagine the devastation.

I also noticed that Greg Hsu is extra challenged to portray Zi Wei’s desperate attempt to save Jun Jie, because Zi Wei in this timeline has a limp, so there’s a lot of physical acting that needs to go with the emoting, and he absolutely nails it. I could feel the anguish with which Zi Wei tries to push his body harder, in his desire to save Jun Jie. The fact that he ultimately fails, feels painful on so many levels. I feel like his heart and mind are imploding with grief, but I also feel like his leg must also be ravaged with pain. So painful, and so well done. 😭

I felt extra protective of Zi Wei because he has a disability. So to see Psychiatrist hit him on the head with a blunt object, twice, was really hard.

It boggles my mind somewhat, that Zi Wei’s been through the airport scene twice, but it makes sense, because the scene occurs between him and himself. The first time we see it, he’s the younger Quan Sheng, choosing to get on the plane in order to allow Yu Xuan the chance to go back in time, and the second time we see it, he’s the older Zi Wei, talking with a newer version of his younger self. I’m intrigued by the idea that as these cycles of time go on, that tiny changes happen with each cycle. It broke my heart to see Quan Sheng choose to get on the plane the first time, knowing that the plane would crash and he would die, but somehow, it broke my heart even more the second time, seeing him making the same choice, and being braver and stronger about it.

I kinda hated that Show decided to kill off Zi Wei in 2019, mostly because I felt so protective of him. But, poor guy was a survivor of a bad accident, who then got hit violently on the head, twice. I can understand how he might’ve died from that. I just.. didn’t want him to die. And I’m glad that Show broke this awful cycle, by the time we reached the closing credits. (Big phew)

Patrick Shih as Mo Jun Jie

To be fair to Patrick Shih, he did not get to play more than a single character in our story, and therefore he had less room to shine than his co-stars. However, I did very much enjoy his interpretation of Jun Jie as a character, and I found myself growing a very large soft spot for Jun Jie, over the course of my watch.

Jun Jie immediately struck me as a really sweet and kind soul, and I especially loved his confession scene in front of Yun Ru’s house. He comes across as so sincere and so pure, while being very compassionate and empathetic as well.

And then later, when Yu Xuan is the one occupying Yun Ru’s body, I love that little conversation that Jun Jie has with her while they’re waiting for her bus. “If you want me to, I’ll try to believe everything that you’ve told me. I don’t want to be someone who causes you distress. I’ll do anything you want if it makes you happy. Also, a part of me really wants all you’ve said to be true. That way, I can continue to like Chen Yun Ru, and treat you as Huang Yu Xuan from the future. Then you would’t feel distressed, and I wouldn’t count as being heartbroken.” His expression in this moment is so honest and open, I love it. He’s such a sweet person.

In episode 8, though, is when we see a new side to Jun Jie, when he gets out of prison. He looks so tired and jaded, and a little hardened. I can only imagine what he’s been through.

I was really impressed with how Jun Jie is so different in the two timelines. In 1998, there’s so much innocence, purity and warmth about him, like in the scene where he tells Yu Xuan that he’ll believe everything she wants him to, and will do anything she asks of him. And then in 2008, when we see him released from prison, there is such a hollowness and brokenness about him, and such a darkness about his countenance. He literally feels like a shadow of his previous self. My heart goes out to him, so very much. 💔 So well played, by Patrick Shih.

The only time I felt the need to rationalize Jun Jie’s behavior is in episode 12, where I felt sincerely thrown by Jun Jie’s claim that he’d never believed that Yu Xuan was real. I mean, it makes logical sense that Yun Ru made up Yu Xuan in order to get Zi Wei’s attention, but.. Yu Xuan’s accounts were so detailed that it would seem hard to not believe her. While it is completely within the realm of possibility that Jun Jie was going along with what he believed to be a ruse, in order to be near Yun Ru, I tend to think that his desire to support Yun Ru, now that she was back in her own body, was so great, that he convinced himself that he believed her, even though he did also believe Yu Xuan, when she’d told him about the time travel thing.

The friendships

I really liked the major friendships in our story world; they really formed a big part of our narrative’s backbone.

Jun Jie & Zi Wei

Like I mentioned earlier, I love how quickly and easily Jun Jie and Zi Wei became friends, back in elementary school. I love that the bond formed so easily, and then became so enduring, over the years. ❤️

When the two boys apparently start developing feelings for the same girl, they do turn on each other for a bit, but thankfully, they soon sort themselves out (kinda). all, the irony in this, is that they’re actually in love with two separate people. Jun Jie likes Yun Ru, while Zi Wei’s feelings are for Yu Xuan – who’s inhabiting Yun Ru’s body.

In episode 6, while Zi Wei grows increasingly aware of his feelings for Yu Xuan, Jun Jie grows more conflicted between the Yun Ru that he’d fallen for, and the girl that’s in front of him now. Although it was a bit frustrating to see Jun Jie and Zi Wei push each other towards opportunities to spend time alone with “Yun Ru,” I could understand where each of them is coming from.

Jun Jie is clearly struggling with the fact that the girl he fell for, is now apparently a completely different person, after hurting her head. I can see how that would be confusing for him. He’s probably asking himself whether he still likes her, since the reasons that he fell for her in the first place, are no longer relevant. Plus, I’m sure Jun Jie can see how “Yun Ru”‘s new personality matches Zi Wei’s, and I can see him pushing opportunities to spend time with her, on Zi Wei, if only to test his own feelings.

On the other hand, Zi Wei is increasingly smitten with this new version of Yun Ru, but he’s trying to stay true to his original promise to Jun Jie, to help him win Yun Ru’s heart, and that’s why he’s also bowing out of situations, so that Jun Jie has a chance to spend time with her.

Importantly, even though our two friends do face challenges and obstacles in their friendship, the love between them never goes away. Even when Jun Jie ends up in jail, for the alleged murder of Yun Ru, Zi Wei never turns his back on him, and keeps trying to visit him, even though Jun Jie consistently rejects those visits.

Jun Jie really does love Zi Wei, though. In episode 9, his suicide feels premeditated, which means that he made his last task in his life, to make up with Zi Wei and reminisce and laugh about old times, before tucking him into bed. So much love there, amid the pain that is overwhelming him and swallowing him. Ack. My heart. 💔

Our trio together

I enjoyed the three-way friendship, whether it was between the boys and Yun Ru, or between them and Yu Xuan.

I found it really sweet how Jun Jie and Zi Wei glom onto Yun Ru so easily, and become friends with her, even though she is reticent and awkward and far from forthcoming. I like how Jun Jie identifies with her social awkwardness because of his own experience as a hearing impaired child who got made fun of, and helps her to feel more comfortable about her own insecurities.

Later, when Yu Xuan arrives in Yun Ru’s body, the dynamic shifts quite a bit, but the thing that remains constant, is how Zi Wei and Jun Jie take it upon themselves to take care of her and protect her, whether she’s Yun Ru or not.

I like the direction our story takes in episode 7, when Yu Xuan tells the boys her secret. It makes the friendship feel truer, since she’s no longer keeping it a secret from them. The boys now know that this is Yu Xuan that they’re friends with, and I liked that. Also, this opens up a lot of opportunity for conversation between Zi Wei and Jun Jie, as they discuss whether they believe her, and how they feel about the story, and about their feelings. I like that Jun Jie is cognizant of how his feelings for Yun Ru have shifted, after her personality change post-concussion, and I’m glad that because of Yu Xuan’s decision to come clean about everything, Jun Jie now has an explanation that settles his heart and his mind.

I just loved how loyal the boys continued to be, no matter how far-fetched Yu Xuan’s tales of truth were, and I am glad that that loyalty flowed both ways.

Our OTP

Guh. The epic yet down-to-earth nature of this loveline just gets me right in the heart. ❤️ I loved these two together, and I rooted so hard, for them to have their happy ending. While Show leaves this fairly open (more on that later, in my section on the ending), I’m reasonably okay with that, because Show does such a good job during the rest of the show, of convincing me that these two people just belong together, forever and always. ❤️

The more we understand of what happened between Yu Xuan and Quan Sheng, the more I understand why Yu Xuan finds it so hard to move on. He’d been a sweet boyfriend, and even though he’d prank her sometimes, they’d laughed a lot, and loved a lot, and made many memories together. The fact that she’d tried to break up with him when she got a job in Shanghai, and the fact that he’d been in that plane crash while chasing her down because she’d refused to let him leave with her, must haunt her terribly. The guilt must compound all the feelings that she has towards him. I can see why it’s so incredibly hard for her to move on, even several years later.

I love that this love between our OTP is so deep and big and epic, that it exists across time and space, and I found it incredibly gratifying, to be able to witness Zi Wei falling for Yu Xuan, and then Yu Xuan falling for Zi Wei (as Quan Sheng), albeit in different timelines. I do concede that I wish that we could’ve had more time with this OTP, seeing them be happy together, though. That’s the thing that I wish Show could’ve given us more of. 🥺

Also, I just want to say that I found Greg Hsu’s tender, gentle gazes quite the molten force to be reckoned with. They melted my knees, I tell ya. Swoon. ❤️

Behold said tender, melty gaze. Spazz. Puddle. Swoon. 😍😍😍

Here’s a spotlight on some of my favorite moments of this roadmap:

E5. It is admittedly very entertaining to see Zi Wei becoming so hyperaware of Yu Xuan, and getting all awkward and discombobulated around her. The way he reacted when she put her hands on his waist while riding pillion on his scooter is so cute. He even forgets to turn on the ignition, heh.

E5. Zi Wei falling even harder for Yu Xuan when he sees her playing basketball, is so endearing. She literally takes his breath away, and I find that adorable.

E6. I must say that Zi Wei’s dazed-smitten looks, with his mouth always slightly ajar, is quite amusing. He’s literally slack-jawed at how awesome this version of Yun Ru is, tee hee.

E7. Omigosh, that last stretch in this episode, when Yu Xuan first sets eyes on Zi Wei in the present, gave me goosebumps. It’s like our different timelines are finally meshing, except they’re technically not.

E8. I find it endearing and moving, that Zi Wei (as Quan Sheng) is so motivated by the thought of meeting Yu Xuan again, that he makes big life decisions around that idea. He moves to Taipei, and studies for his college entrance exams, and works really hard, in order to make it happen. And the unbridled joy he expresses, when he finally gets that acceptance letter, is so cute and heart-melty.

E8. The way he approaches Yu Xuan is part adorable smitten puppy, and part annoying dumbass. His joy and wonder when Yu Xuan visits the coffee shop and buys a coffee from him, is the cutest thing. And his forthright love confession on the very day that he meets her again, is funny and winsome because of how euphoric he is. And I also feel like he’s waited for so long to see her again, that he just can’t contain himself any longer.

But, afterwards, in all the ways that he badgers her and persistently appears in her orbit, come across as quite annoying and tone deaf. Technically, he even gaslights her, since he does take the job at her workplace to be around her, but tells her that she’s being oversensitive, since it was his new friends – her friends – that had told him he could try there for a job. But, because I already know that Yu Xuan ends up loving him to the moon and back, and that he’s really the love of her life and she doesn’t know it yet, he gets a pass. But barely, because he really is being annoying about it, in true “little gangster” Li Zi Wei style. 😆

E9. Zi Wei’s patience and smitten loyalty to Yu Xuan eventually pays off, and I honestly can’t blame Yu Xuan for falling for him. The way he only has eyes for her, even though other girls are falling over themselves for him, is part of it. The way he keeps his promise and maintains a respectful distance is another part of it. That moment when he gets emotional when talking about losing a close friend to suicide, is part of it too. This is the first time he’s letting Yu Xuan see some of his inner vulnerability under the jokester persona, and it really gets to her.

The kicker, though, I think, is when she sees him light candles on a cake for her birthday, not knowing that she’s right there, around the corner. He doesn’t tell her about it either; on the phone, he simply wishes her happy birthday. Augh. That is so pure and so sweet. How could her heart not be moved? The sight of him sitting on the floor with the cake in front of him, as he talks with her on the phone, is just so sweet and pure. AUGH. He’s SO lovely. 😍

E9. I really love the scene in the restaurant, where Zi Wei puts on the signature song, and gets all misty-eyed and emotional, as he thinks about Yu Xuan, back in their school days. He snaps out of his reverie when Yu Xuan arrives, but, buoyed by the feels from the music, he tells her, in the most tender manner, that she’s the person who’s been living in his heart all along. Swoon. When he says this, he looks like he’s half in a dream.

But then he turns the moment on its head but breaking into jokester mode, to brace for her snappy reproach – and it really is exactly the kind of moment where she’d tell him to shut up and stop it. She doesn’t, though, and instead, asks him if what he’d do if she took him seriously one day. And then he immediately flips back into serious, swoony mode, and, gazing right into her eyes, his gaze flicking with emotion, tells her that if she’d take him seriously, he’d never leave her. AUGH. SWOON. And when she demurs, asking him he goes around saying these things to all the girls, he protests, smiling, but still with that distinct tenderness in his gaze, “I only say these things to you.” MELT. PUDDLE. 😍😍

E9. And there’s how he takes care of her when she’s cramping on her period, by buying her the period products that she needs, then literally carrying her home on his back, and then buying her food, so that she won’t have to leave the house if she’s feeling under the weather. Oh my goodness. How can anyone not melt at this display of care? And when she asks why he’s so nice to her, he answers so matter-of-factly, “It’s because I like you.” Blubber. Swoon.

It’s no wonder she finally reciprocates his feelings. The way he whoops with delight when he realizes what she’s saying, is so pure and so wholesome. LUFF. LUFFLUFFLUFF. 😍😍😍

E10. Augh. The moment when Zi Wei first walks towards Yu Xuan in the cafe, it literally gave me chills. She’s been searching for him for so long, and he’s been waiting for her for so long; this moment feels so precious and so surreal.

The epic nature of Zi Wei’s love for Yu Xuan just melts me to my core. The way he embraced a strange new life as Quan Sheng, and dedicated his efforts towards meeting Yu Xuan again, is so moving. And when he finally won her heart, he committed himself to being such a loving, wonderful boyfriend. And then, when his time as Quan Sheng was up, he made the choice to get on an ill-fated flight, so that Yu Xuan would have a chance to go back in time, so that he’d be able to meet her and fall in love with her, and then, back in his original body, he makes the arduous journey to learn to walk again. And during that entire time, he yearns for her, but doesn’t act on that yearning, because she hasn’t yet gone back in time to meet him. 15 years, of waiting and yearning? AUGH. The devotion. My heart practically implodes at the thought. ❤️

I love that Yu Xuan wastes no time in bringing Zi Wei back home, because even though she’s technically just met him, he’d lived there with her, as Quan Sheng, for a long time. It’s home to him. And I LOVE how she embraces him. That backhug at the apartment really gets to me, because it’s a demonstration of how fully she accepts him as the love of her life, whatever body he’s in, and whatever name he’s using. Augh. My heart.

The engraved message on the rings combine to read, “Our meeting would be meaningful to me, only if you asked to see me.” It speaks of a yearning for Yu Xuan to want to see him, and the way Yu Xuan then leans in to kiss him first, makes me feel like that’s her way of fulfilling that yearning. She’s not waiting for him to kiss her; she’s making the first move to kiss him, and in that way, she’s asking to “see” him. I really like that. I also really like the idea that after living in loneliness for so long, that Zi Wei is finally receiving tenderness and love, the way he so deserves.

E12. Back in 1998, I love how Zi Wei picks up on the fact that the girl he’s with isn’t Yu Xuan after all. These all come from him having spent time with Yu Xuan, and observed her. He knows her handwriting, and the way she runs, and the way she reacts to the rain. I love that he knows her that well, to be rattled and disturbed by the differences that he sees.

Special shout-outs:

Uncle

Special shout-out to Uncle (Zhang Han) who consistently lent a listening ear and a helping hand, even when he didn’t always believe in the truth of the time travel tales that Yu Xuan told him. Not only does he help Yu Xuan in both timelines, I love that he becomes such a pillar of support to Zi Wei, particularly from 2010 onwards, when Zi Wei comes back in Quan Sheng’s body.

Uncle took a wild situation and made himself a rock and a pillar to these kids that weren’t even his actual nephew or niece, and was kind and loving through it all. Heroes truly don’t always wear capes. ❤️

The family relationships

I have to admit that in the beginning of our story, I’d found Yun Ru’s family pretty awful. Even though she takes care of her mother (Yan Yi Wen) and brother, no one in her family seems to care about her, and her parents’ fight over who their son will live with after their divorce, effectively translates into fighting over who will have to take Yun Ru in the end. It’s no wonder she’s so hurt and upset, and wants to become independent as soon as possible.

However, I have to admit that I did enjoy seeing the family relationships grow stronger, with Yu Xuan in Yun Ru’s shoes. It’s actually nice to see the siblings squabbling now, because there’s an underlying trust and affection that hadn’t been apparent before. Yu Xuan stepping forward to save Si Yuan from the bullies really paved the way for a betterment of the family relationships. It’s a surprising reveal, that Si Yuan had been so rebellious and problematic, because he hadn’t been happy with how his parents treated his sister. Aw. That’s sweet, in a twisted kinda way.

I also really liked the scene where Mom gets all emotional seeing her kids get along – albeit bickeringly – and tears up at the opportunity to eat breakfast together as a family.

I know it’s a little (or a lot) delicate because Yun Ru is technically not part of this picture, but it still was heartwarming to witness Yu Xuan’s levelheadedness and maturity doing this family good.

Jun Jie’s gran

Just a quick shout-out to Jun Jie’s gran (Ma Hui Chen), who loves her grandson so unconditionally. I love that there’s no judgment about her, even though Jun Jie ended up in jail for Yun Ru’s death. She only refers to it as bad luck, which shows that she still believes in Jun Jie’s goodness, 100%. That’s sweet, and that’s so important, for Jun Jie. ❤️

STUFF I LIKED LESS

With a show that I enjoyed so much, it feels kinda nitpicky to even have this section, but to be fair, here’s a quick list of things that I didn’t like so much, during my watch.

The office gang leans cartoony

The office friends are silly and played pretty broad, and I didn’t like that so much. I did choose to just roll with it, though, because the office gang doesn’t appear very often, and everything else about our story is so intriguing.

Psychiatrist is very disturbing

I have to say, Kenny Yen is very effective in his roles as both Psychiatrist and Class Monitor. He’s perfectly believable as an ordinary psychiatrist who’s concerned for his patient, and yet, when he turns on the creepy, he is so disturbing. I have him in this section purely because I found him disconcerting to watch.

Also, I just wanted to say that the stuff to do with Psychiatrist is very unsettling. I hate that he killed a cat, and I find it deeply twisted, that his interactions with his younger self, are to basically train him to be a killer. It’s quite crazy to think that his younger self dropped the flashlight in shock, when he injected the poison to kill Wen Rou (Erato Liang). It makes me wonder if his younger self would’ve gotten so addicted to killing, if he hadn’t been schooled by his older self. It’s all very bizarre, dark and intriguing.

Small logic cracks

1. What’s the real story behind why Jun Jie’s hearing aid was found on the scene of the attack? I don’t believe Show ever answers that, and it’s clear that the explanation that Yu Xuan gives at the police station is just a cover-up fib.

2. It is really quite far-fetched that a 7-year-old Yu Xuan would get that far away from home on foot.

3. The phone that “Quan Sheng” hands to Zi Wei for safekeeping, is a phone that he got as Wang Quan Sheng, so I’m sure his account would be under Quan Sheng’s name. But earlier in the show, when Yu Xuan first looked into the account holder for the phone, it was under Zi Wei’s name, and the phone records showed that there had never been any transfer of account holder. This doesn’t add up?

4. In 2010, Uncle had told “Quan Sheng” that Zi Wei had been taken back to Canada in a vegetative state by his parents. This episode, Zi Wei reveals that he’d been in a coma after the car accident, for 2 weeks. That doesn’t seem like an appropriate length of time for the coma, since it would’ve taken time for his parents to arrive from Canada, and I’m sure they would’ve been in talks with doctors and running tests for longer than 2 weeks, before concluding that there was little hope of Zi Wei waking up from his coma.

5. With so many flashbacks demonstrating to us just how in love Yu Xuan and Quan Sheng were, I’m finding it kind of hard to reconcile that with how she chooses to break up with him in order to go to Shanghai. I know that she thinks it’s better for his career, for him to stay in Taiwan, but breaking up with him seems very drastic. Why didn’t they talk about the possibility of staying in a relationship long-distance? They’d already gotten into the hang of using video calls to spend time together while working? I feel like if anything, Show could have spent more effort on making Yu Xuan’s decision seem more organic.

THEMES / IDEAS

There’s a strong theme of love and loss in our story, and what those both mean. Show also demonstrates to us, through our various characters, that loving someone doesn’t necessarily equate to being with them. Jun Jie loves Yun Ru, but has to love her from a distance, for most of our story. Zi Wei loves Yu Xuan from a distance, especially in our present timeline. And Yu Xuan makes the huge sacrifice of erasing the memories of her love with Zi Wei, out of love for him, so that he won’t have to die.

Additionally, it strikes me that this show’s writer seems to have a deep understanding of what it’s like to process loss. The opening dream sequence in episode 7, where Yu Xuan tells Zi Wei about how everything feels heavier – your chest, your cheeks, your tears – feels so detailed and poignant.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

Y’know, I was pretty nervous going into this finale, because, 1, I just didn’t feel ready to say goodbye to this world and these characters, and 2, I had confidence that Show would wrap up its story in a way that was smart and cohesive, but I wasn’t sure if I would get the kind of ending that I wanted.

All in all, I’d say Show does an excellent job of the finale, and I even kinda-sorta get the happy ending I was hoping for.

Let me back up.

First of all, let’s talk about how consistently clever Show remains, until the very end. I want to say how impressed I am, that even in this finale, Show manages to serve up a couple of twists, all of which I hadn’t seen coming. I just love how effortlessly clever Show is. The first twist that I hadn’t anticipated, was that Psychiatrist got hauled out of 1998, just before killing Yun Ru. Given how he was already standing there with the syringe to her neck, I really couldn’t see how she could survive his murderous intentions.

The next twist I hadn’t seen coming – well, not until the technician tells Yu Xuan that he’s retrieved the tape from the broken Walkman for her – is how the time travel never was about the Walkman. It had been the tape all along. And that allows Yu Xuan to go back one last time, to not only save Yun Ru and therefore Jun Jie, but also, to set things in motion to overcome the time travel cycle that she and Zi Wei have been trapped in.

..Which leads me to the second thing.

Coming into this finale, I’d had a sinking feeling that Show was going to go with an open-ended, cyclical ending, where it leaves us at the beginning of yet another cycle of Zi Wei and Yu Xuan loving each other across time and space. While I got that there is a great deal of poignance and romanticism in the idea, I have to admit that in my heart of hearts, I really wanted them to rise above the cycle, and create a new cycle of actually being together in the same space, so that they could love fully and deeply, without having to be torn apart in a cyclical fashion. I wondered if Show would be able to pull that off, and in a way that still respected the rules of this drama world.

I’m gratified to know that our characters do manage to break the cycle, and extricate themselves from terrible fates that would have befallen them if they’d remained in the cycle. And Show does give me enough in the way of hints and indications, to enable me to picture an eventual reunion and happy ending for Zi Wei and Yu Xuan.

Let me back up a bit, because I need to talk about how Show had me by the heart, this finale. I found that I was so invested in these characters, that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, wondering how our story would develop, while hoping against hope that we’d get some kind of happy ending.

One of my favorite OTP moments this episode, is when Yu Xuan comes out of the building with Jun Jie, right after arriving back in Yun Ru’s body, and Zi Wei recognizes her instantly. I love that. I love that even though Yu Xuan is in Yun Ru’s body and Yun Ru had spent a fair bit of time pretending to be Yu Xuan, Zi Wei just knows when it’s really Yu Xuan. Their tearful reunion hug had me choking back a lump in my throat; I was so happy that the lovebirds got to see each other again.

The other OTP moment that really stands out for me, this episode, is when Yu Xuan and Zi Wei are saying goodbye at the beach. Augh. The longing, the aching, the wistfulness and the tears; everything feels so raw and tender, and there is such a sense of despair, lostness and desperation, even as they embrace for the last time. AUGH. 😭 The promise that Zi Wei makes, that he will never forget her, and will find her again, is founded on such a small sliver of hope; it makes my heart ache, so much. 💔

Afterwards, it’s so poignant to see Yu Xuan and Zi Wei back in their own rooms, tearful and wistful, as they watch the traces of their memories disappear.

I’m comforted that the sacrifice that they make results in everyone being saved; Yun Ru doesn’t die, and Jun Jie doesn’t destroy his life by admitting to a murder that he didn’t commit in order to fulfill Yun Ru’s dying wish; Zi Wei doesn’t get into a debilitating accident, and he also doesn’t get killed in 2019. It really was the safest, most restorative path for everyone.

I’m also comforted, that somehow, in the midst of it all, even though all their memories are erased from the reset, Zi Wei still retains traces of a memory. It almost feels like a muscle memory of sorts, the way his heart aches for someone, even though he isn’t cognizant of who that might be, and the way he’s drawn to the name Huang Yu Xuan, even though he’s never met her before.

Additionally, I’m consoled by the idea that even though things have been reset and it’s a different chain of events that our characters now experience, somehow, Zi Wei still winds up meeting little Huang Yu Xuan at the street stall, just like he had before. It makes me think that somehow, Zi Wei’s path will still lead him to Yu Xuan, and that when he finds her again, that muscle memory that he retains, will draw him to build a connection with her and fall in love with her, all over again. Because, if there’s one thing that Show has done really well, it’s that it’s convinced me that these two are meant to be; they will find each other and love each other, even if it requires them to move through time and space in order to do so. ❤️

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Quietly, casually smart and epic, while being completely heartfelt. Wonderful and precious.

FINAL GRADE: A+

TRAILER:

BONUS ENDING:

Thanks to those of you who pointed me in the direction of this; Show has a bonus ending, which you can check out here (click cc to view with subs):

Aw. Just the extra dose of sweetness and assurance that we need. ❤️

You can also find the bonus ending on Viki here. If you’re unable to view it, try using Opera’s free VPN, set to Americas.

MV:

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Jin Ming
Jin Ming
2 months ago

I absolutely love this show!! And I just want to add the logic crack 1, I saw in a video that the writers actually knew about it. They said they actually have film the part to clarify why the hearing device is on the crime scene. But in the editing they edited it out as it makes the episode too long or smt so they made a small compromise there.

merij1
merij1
2 months ago
Reply to  Jin Ming

I would love to hear what they had to say about making this wonderful show. Can you suggest keywords from the title I could use to search for it?

If you post the URL here, you might want to do that via a separate comment, since it will probably be held up until KFG can approve it in the morning (her time).

m
m
5 months ago

Hello thank you so so so much for this post!
I’d just finished watching this series and wanted to read what everyone else thought of this series and that’s how I stumbled upon your blog!
This review was so excellent it brought tiny tears to my eyes, and made me think of this drama again and simply can’t seem to let it go!
I agree with everything you’ve said and found everything to be near pitch perfect!

however, I am left quite a bit confused with one or two details of the ending, and would LOVE to hear everyone else’s thought on this, because I couldn’t really understand it.

In the very end, we see Zi Wei and long haired Yu Xuan both in their high school uniforms meet what seemed like the very first meeting in that record store. How is this possible? How can Yu Xuan and Zi Wei be same age?
Considering we’d just seen a scene of Zi Wei meeting the lost little girl Yu Xuan even in this new loop/arc.

Also a conflict with the 4 minutes extra scene they uploaded on Youtube… because from my understanding, that’s Yu Xuan in High School uniform (is that a high school uniform) bringing him the cake?
The characters’ age seem to be right as well, considering Zi Wei met the little girl around when she was perhaps 7 years old, and he was in his last year of high school. On the cake it says 28, so that’s about 10 years time jump, and Yu Xuan is now around 17-18 years old, and is in her turn, a senior in High School.

So what was that scene of Zi Wei and Yu Xuan meeting as high school students in the record store, and Yu Xuan working there instead of Yun Ru?

It’s like I finally pieced everything together and everything makes sense except for that one detail and it’s been driving me crazy and didn’t have anyone to ask or discuss, so thought I would post it here.

Thank you for this wonderful review again!

x

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  m

It’s been a month and a half since I finished it, but I’ll take a shot at this.

I believe the record shop scene(s) you refer to occurred BEFORE the timeline reset, and took place in the dreams of the modern times Yu Xuan. In those semi-troubled dreams she was back in Yun Run’s body, as if Yun Run had been erased from the universe.

Then the past resets and the timelines and characters we knew are all erased. In the scenes with Mo Jun Jie and a same-aged girl after the reset, the girl was the original sad-sack Yun Ru, not Yu Xuan. It’s just that she had woken from her coma no longer feeling hopelessly alienated and depressed and thus seemed more like the person we remember from when Yu Xuan occupied her body.

At the very end of the show, high school-aged boy Zi Wei re-encounters Yu Xuan as a little girl lost in the market. In the final scene where he’s taking her back to her grandmother on his motorbike, they exchange names and she implies that she wants to be his GF when she grows up. He promises he won’t forget her.

In that scene, the little girl Yu Xuan is sitting in front of Zi Wei on the bike. A moment later, it morphs to a glimpse of the future, with them still on the bike, but now the adult Yu Xuan is sitting behind Zi Wei with her arms wrapped around him. Implying that they do indeed stay in touch and become adult sweethearts — or at least very close friends.

As to the bonus scene with Yu Xuan now in a high school uniform, I think they stayed in touch all those years, and that was someone incredibly dear to him coming to wish her oppa a happy birthday. Possibly that was around the time he first began to consider her as more than a younger sister/friend, but I choose to believe a few more years passed before they became a romantic couple, if that even happened at all. What we know for sure is that fate allowed them to end up happily entwined in each other’s lives.

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Although it’s only implied, I choose to believe Mo Jun Jie and Yun Ru ended up together as well, with her now mentally healthy enough to return his love.

The reason I thought that — unless my memory is faulty — is that after the reset the remaining scenes consist of only two people at a time, either same-aged Jun Jie paired with Yun Ru, or Zi Wei paired with the much younger Yu Xuan. (Plus the scene with Zi Wei on his back in the meadow talking to Jun Jie via cell phone.)

m
m
4 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Thank you sooo much for your reply!

It makes sense now, if that scene of long haired high school Yu Xuan meeting high school Zi Wei in the record shop for the first time was a dream sequence BEFORE the timeline reset! Thank youu!

merij1
merij1
4 months ago
Reply to  m

If not a dream, then another iteration of her going back in time while sleeping in the present. Either way, I’m pretty sure it was before the reset.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
5 months ago

After hearing so much positive buzz about this show, I finally watched it without exposure to any spoilers. I am so happy I gave it a try. The show had this effortless flow about it which made following the complex timeline not too difficult. Combine that with nuanced performances by the actors, and the result is simply brilliant without any trace of gimmicks.
The music was good too. The song ” Last Dance” which is central to the plot reminded me of the 1960s pop-classic “Whiter Shade of Pale”, which, coincidentally, also mentions a dance in its lyrics.
The OTP definitely deserves a spot in the drama couples’ Hall of Fame.

j3ffc
j3ffc
5 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

I heard the same thing re “Last Dance”. And coincidentally just watched this today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&feature=fvwrel&v=St6jyEFe5WM. I love the main title theme, too, and keep tying to push it onto my non-drama friends (with no success).

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Yeah, the main title theme ended up grabbing me, too, and is now a regular in my commute playlist rotation.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
5 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Loved the minor key opening with the orchestra. Super cool!

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

We too thought of Whiter Shade of Pale.

Deena K
Deena K
5 months ago

Agree with you about it. I got annoyed so much when I first watched that part I was like: hey isn’t Yu Xuan a street smart? Isn’t Li Zi Wei technically a 45 years old guy who has so much life experiences? They could’ve found another way to kill 2019 Li Zi Wei without making both characters temporarily dumb

Deena K
Deena K
5 months ago

Agree with you about it. I got annoyed so much when I first watch it I was like: hey, isn’t Yu Xuan a street smart? isn’t Zi Wei technically a 45 year old guy with so much life experiences? They could’ve found another reason to kill 2019 Li Zi Wei without making them both temporarily dumb-_-

Trent
5 months ago

I can tell just from skimming the replies that you’ve managed to get quite a respectable crowd of folks to check this one out, and now I can include myself among their number since I just finished this yesterday.

I only read the first couple paragraphs of your review before I started this show, as I took the “avoid spoilers! this means YOU!” warning very seriously. Now that I’ve finished it, I’ve just read through your whole review, and I really appreciate your detailed examination and analysis of all that’s going on in the show.

I’m still digesting this one, and I’ll need some more thought before I attempt to write it up myself, but I don’t think I disagree with anything you say (anything major, at least), so much as that we had different intensities of reaction to different elements of the show.

Time loop narratives are really difficult to do with a significant level of internal narrative consistency–the biggest part of my own write-up of The King: Eternal Monarch (which to be clear, I still really liked) was a rant about the sloppy handling of the time travel portions in the final section of the show–so I did really appreciate that the writers on this show demonstrably put in the effort to map out the twists and make them all mesh with a pretty high level of consistency.

Just a couple of thoughts sparked by things in the review. The first is that I definitely agree with your “small logic crack #5”. Once the narrative started to really unfold, and it became ever more clear how truly important Li Ziwei had been to her life for the past several years, Huang Yuxuan’s 2017 decision to just break-up with him because her job was posting her to Shanghai seemed more and more jarring and difficult to reconcile. It’s not a deal-breaker or even necessarily a major flaw, but it does stick in the mind as kind of a fly in the narrative ointment.

Another point that I’m still pondering: my take while I was watching the show, and I think still now (although I’m open to different views), is that the original/actual Wang Quansheng succeeded in his attempted suicide as to the consciousness of Quansheng. Obviously his body survived, via metempsychosis of Li Ziwei’s consciousness, but he never explicitly reappears as himself, the personality Wang Quansheng, and to my recollection (open to correction here!) we never see him inhabiting the inner white tent like Yuxuan/Yunru do when the other consciousness is animating/controlling the body. My conclusion is that Quansheng did die. Arguing against this conclusion is that Li Ziwei wakes up as Quansheng at home in his bed, with his parents treating him gingerly, but not as if he’s been “unconscious” since being dragged from the ocean. So…I’m still thinking about this one. It may just be a small bobble in the script that doesn’t mean much either way, since even if Quansheng spent seven years riding in “small white tent” mind prison while Li Ziwei ran the show (parenthetically: not only would that really kind of suck, I would think, it would probably also be an additional level of burdensome for a gay kid to be stuck there while Li Ziwei successfully pursues a heterosexual relationship), he ultimately dies with that iteration of Li Ziwei in the plane crash of 2017.

Last thought for now. I hadn’t seen the bonus ending (or realized there was one) until I came across it at the end of this review, and I may be misunderstanding it, but…taking the number on the cake to be accurate (i.e. Li Ziwei is turning 28), then that’s Chen Yunru, right? Are we to assume that Junjie and Yunru are together? Or the three of them are still just really good friends? It’s not likely to be Huang Yuxuan, who would be 17 or 18 and not hanging out with a couple of guys in their late 20’s. And is it going to be weird at some point that Junjie and Ziwei are dating women who look very very similar, just 10 years or so apart (if that is in fact the trajectory of where this is going)? I know, I’m overthinking this. Hope I don’t harsh anyone’s mellow….

merij1
merij1
5 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Regarding small logic crack #5 (why did she so easily end the relationship while leaving for her new job posting in Shanghai?):

I had trouble with this also. In the end I concluded that it was just one of those impulsive life decisions that seem to make sense at the time. Had he not died, I’m certain she would have re-considered after arriving in Shanghai. Either he would have joined her there or they would have maintained a distance-relationship for several years.

Instead, she not only had to live on without him, but also had to endure the guilt that her impulsive decision — and his missed opportunity to propose the day she left — is what led him to be on that flight in the first place.

In short, as a plot device, it served to greatly increase the poignancy of their shared story.

Trent
5 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Yeah, I think the writers could have smoothed it out and made it more believable with a little more time and attention, but particularly in the first episode or so, they had a lot of fish to fry, plot-wise, to get the whole time-traveling thing set up and kicked off.

And as you say, I think that’s a reasonable way to make sense of the situation: we see from the very beginning that present-day Huang Yuxuan is a straightforward, no-nonsense, almost brusque personality (tangent: how much of that part of her personality that we see at the beginning has been sharpened or heightened by the two years of loss she’s suffered, and the lack of Li Ziwei’s partnership influence? interesting…), so I suppose it’s believable that she made a forceful decision and would have quickly backtracked had the accident not happened. Still don’t entirely swallow it, but it’s a coherent way to see it, for sure.

Isabel
Isabel
6 months ago

So this is too long, but I really wanted to talk about this show with someone. WARNING: SPOILERS
I wanted to highlight the crucial role of Yun Ru. In my interpretation, she was the one who actually set off the cascade of loops and it was her issues that needed to be resolved for things to be resolved. Note that they tried to fix each of the other characters’ issues first (reuniting Li Zi Wei and Yu Xuan, and trying to save Mo Jun Jie) but they just didn’t take — Yun Ru kept dying (she actually died in several different ways over the course of the series, being seen stabbed with shard, and fallen from height at different times). Things didn’t resolve until Yun Ru’s issues were addressed and her arc was placed in the center.
So I watched again, paying particular attention to her arc. Here is what I found. I think that it was Yun Ru’s wish on her birthday that sets everything in motion — she says she wants to become the girl that Zi Wei likes. This is what happens. Thinking about it after the fact, I think that if that wish were never made, Yu Xuan and Zi Wei would have ended together, as they do at the end of the series. But the wish distorts everything. Yun Ru’s central issue is her self-destructiveness. She hates herself and that darkness at her core eats away at her. Note in the intro scenes the images of the goldfish. The golden goldfish is Yu Xuan, held by Zi Wei, and the black goldfish is Yun Ru, and Mo Jun Jie tries to grasp her but she is struggling out of water. Yun Ru wants to become someone else to escape her pain.
Yun Ru’s central issue is her hatred of herself and the loops only make it worse. She is pushed aside and excluded even from her own life, and she sees someone else stepping in and doing her own life better (family, friends, love). Remember that she is in that internal room and likely witness to much of what happens. So when she tries to pretend and take that new life for herself in the later episodes, I feel some compassion, even as we know it is only another form of self-destruction and ultimately doomed.
The crucial act is saving Yun Ru from suicide, but this self-destruction doesn’t disappear until Yu Xuan speaks to Yun Ru internally and with compassion. Note that Yun Ru afterwards does not see this as someone else speaking to her (people have spoken to her before and have been unable to penetrate the destructive spiral she is in because they were outside of it), but when describing it to Mo Jun Jie she says it was an older version of herself that is talking to her. And what this voice told her was several things — to cherish those that love you (nice circling, if there are people that love you then you are lovable, a mirror that shows good things, she can be inclusive rather than feeling excluded), it is not that the world that is disappointing but that your expectations are high (importance of perspective), and I think the most important is that she has faith in Yun Ru (she will not stop her next time). This reinforces a sense or core identity in Yun Ru as someone who has choices and can act, thus counteracting the powerlessness she felt as someone that was acted upon and excluded.
Each of the four main characters had a growth arc. Yun Ru and Yu Xuan were bonded by sadness, with Yun Ru’s being existential and Yu Xuan being grief Yun Ru had to learn to value herself and choose against self-destruction. Yu Xuan had to learn to let go and have faith that things would work out without her action. They both had to learn to cherish those that loved them, as Yu Xuan did take Quan Shen for granted and not appreciate what she had when she made the decision to go to Shanghai. Li Zi Wei learned patience and consideration. and Mo Jun Jie had to learn to act.
Mo Jun Jie’s arc is also not talked about much. He loved Yun Ru and his love was lovely but unconditional to an unhealthy degree. He had no boundaries of self and he constantly self-sacrificed, confessing to being Yun Ru’s murderer so she would not be pitiful, putting LI Zi Wei’s feelings before his own and constantly stepping back. He had to learn to speak and act and not just to listen and understand. And I loved that he was the one to finally hug Yun Ru when she awoke in the hospital, acting on his feelings and showing them was important for him. And it was fitting that he was the one to finally destroy the tape. He closed the loop — so appropriate since he is partnered with Yun Ru and she opened it. His love and action was the healing that Yun Ru needed.
About the killer. It seems weird that Yun Ru would not tell the police about the one who attacked her, but in a way, I see him as another suitor of hers. He offered another kind of self-destruction which she really wanted. She kept him around while the darkness inside of herself was not yet resolved. He was the death instinct, but as mentioned above, he was not really the central problem. Note: I didn’t like how the death of the other girl was so little thought of, she just disappeared and I didn’t like that.
Other random lovely touches. The rings are Mobius strips, signifying the time loop. As Yu Xuan is writing in the journal at the end she is surrounded by drawn loops of different kinds, including other Mobius strips, one with two twists. Water is such a presence (rain etc), seems to serve as a metaphor.
That’s it. Would love to hear others’ thoughts.

j3ffc
j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  Isabel

Such a thoughtful and insightful take on the show, Isabel! I had noticed the Mobius strips as well, such a subtle detail befitting of this well-crafted story. Your interpretation of the goldfish in the intro rings true, as well.

manukajoe
6 months ago
Reply to  Isabel

Wow Isabel what an insightful analysis, I really like it, and it increased my enjoyment of the show. I am not someone who tends to analyse too much, but just go with the flow, but your ideas seem to fit perfectly.

Isabel
Isabel
6 months ago
Reply to  manukajoe

Thank you! I really enjoyed trying to put things together.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
5 months ago
Reply to  Isabel

Wow, what a wonderful analysis of the show! Thanks for sharing it! Reminds me of literary criticism that we did in school =)

j3ffc
j3ffc
6 months ago

Just finished it. I should probably admit up front that, not being clever, I found myself lost with a lot of the time travel loop-de-loops and missed some key points until kfangurl was so kind to explain them in her comments, but I enjoyed the watch nonetheless. The acting was great (Alice Ko, OMG), I loved the music (first listen to the title song but “Last Dance” grew on me as we went along, and there were a lot of genuine twists and surprises throughout, which was sooooo refreshing.

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW:

A quirky thing was the little mystical house that Huang Yu Xuan or Chen Yu Run occupied while the body swapping was going on. Is it just me, or are we to assume that it was always a two-way communication,
even though Chen Yu Run never seemed to use it as such?

But for me the most touching part of the drama came from how I read the juxtaposition of 2019 Huang Yu Xuan with Chen Yu Run. Clearly two different people in the drama (well, eventually, even I figured that out) but I saw the story as a parable of how much our younger selves would have benefitted form the perspective of our mature beings. I mean, Yu Xuan was so much more together, confident, and attractive compared to the 1998/9 Yu Run, filled with self-doubt and insecurities: who wouldn’t benefit if that more mature version of ourselves to “take over” when we were first figuring out life, love, friendships? Of course, it was far from positive from Yu Xuan’s ultimate perspective, but I will admit that I identified with the idea.

Thanks so much for the rec; would have never watched this without it, kfangurl. Now I have opened up a slot to accompany my other current watch, “It’s OK to Not Be OK”, which is also on the heavy side (and, gotta say, “Chuno” is heading there fast), and I have gotten 30 minutes into “Secret Garden” for a change. And already feel guilty about it….

manukajoe
6 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

I interpreted the mystical little house as being where the person went when their body was being controlled by the other person. Could they communicate? I don’t remember them doing so, although Yu Xuan wanted to.

j3ffc
j3ffc
6 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Kfangurl, not to worry! My guilt over “Secret Garden” is that most of my recent watches have been artistically ambitious, prestige projects, and SG is….not. I am also embarrassed that one of my main reasons for watching is that I thought Ha Ji Won was so very charming in “House on Wheels” that I wanted to check out one of her dramas (please don’t tell anyone 😉).

learjet1
learjet1
6 months ago

What a wonderful surprise this drama was. I was very careful to avoid spoilers (very difficult as I always read the last page of a book first to check it ends well) having seen this and Kay’s reviews and I’m so glad I did. It was consistently unpredictable (in the best way). I was impressed at how they handled the multiple time points. It could have so easily became a confusing mess. I also found the end really satisfying. I was worried it would be either too open-ended or sad or too neat but I was left feeling happy emotionally and intellectually. Would love to see more Taiwanese dramas of this calibre.

winnie
winnie
6 months ago

Thanks for recommending this drama. It’s my first Taiwanese Drama (since I am more into K Drama and I love it very much. It’s a very good drama with strong story, strong execution, strong acting and a good OST. Do you have any other Taiwanese drama that you recommend?

Kanwal
Kanwal
6 months ago

Thank you fangirl for suggesting this oh so wonderful drama. I am just so glad I watched it and found myself wholeheartedly agreeing to your entire review.i want more recommendations of taiwanese shows please.loved the writing a lot , would definitely look up for this author’s other dramas.

Major heart eyes for Greg hsu, isn’t he so charming and what acting skills boy.he has definitely made to the top of my favorite oppas which only included two actors so far ,nam joo hyuk from dazzling and jeong from a piece of your mind.i am still high on this show..😃

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

I’ve got the soundtrack on repeat on Spotify now. The songs just give me such feels! Thanks to the show.

Kay
Kay
6 months ago

I blame you for that emotional rollercoaster I just went on from watching this drama 😂 Wow, it was incredible! I wouldn’t have watched it if not for reading the opening of your review, and I’m thankful I did! This drama was amazing! I’ll have my own review out soon. Thank you shining a light on this one because it really is a gem 🙂

Kay
Kay
6 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yes, it was a bit tricky to write about it in order to give some kind of an idea of what to expect without revealing spoilers. I ended up going super simple and non-revealing with my plot and character descriptions and then did similar to you in just describing its strong points in a more generic way with the advisory to avoid spoilers. Then I did a big spoiler section. So, with some tweaking, I was able to make it work with my usual format. Review is scheduled to post tomorrow. Hoping some of my readers will take the leap of faith and enjoy this wonderful show too 🙂

Kathleen Carlsen
6 months ago

I would never have watched this if you hadn’t reviewed it (I did not read complete review until after completing drama). Really enjoyed the actors, this is a memorable drama. The whole gay thing, however, seemed thrown in and weird. Aside from that, I enjoyed this from start to finish!

merij1
merij1
6 months ago

For me, the gay character served two purposes:

One, it clarified that he was an entirely new character, not the original Zi Wei nor the Quan Sheng we knew, despite it being the same actor/body. In a show whose time travel twists were already difficult to follow at times, I think this helped.

Two, it underscored a recurring theme in the show about how people who are different tend to get bullied and how that affects them.

merij1
merij1
6 months ago

We loved this show for all the reasons you did.

Tbh, we were set back more than you by the last three episodes — the sudden introduction of seriously creepy darkness and the equally sudden onset of stupid behavior by the key players — but overall this is easily one the most well-scripted time travel shows I’ve ever seen. And most of the others had far less heart!

The resolution was also extremely realistic for a time travel script. Real, yet a happy ending.

merij1
merij1
6 months ago
Reply to  merij1

Based on your advice, we went in totally blind. As I believe I commented earlier, at times this led to the same sense of wonderment my sons and I experienced watching the early seasons of Lost. Especially that episode where we suddenly switch perspectives to the original Wang Quan Sheng’s point of view, and then to Lin Zi Wei’s. Wow.

Unfortunately, once I recognized that scriptwriting pattern, I knew the psychiatrist would get the same treatment at some point.

The actor who plays the record store uncle, btw, is also featured in A Thousand Goodnights, that other Taiwanese show I’m always going on about. (Also on Netflix.) In A Thousand Goodnights he plays the part of an entertainment manager who scouts one of the secondary leads as an aspiring teen idol.

That was the first show where I learned that teen idols in many of these countries are contractually prohibited from having girlfriends or boyfriends, lest it interfere with their fans’ fantasy lives. (Not just “keep it on the down-low,” but literally “you may not have any romantic relationship while under contract.”)

So strange to my way of thinking — what kind of fans are these, that they care so little for their idol’s happiness?! — but it’s a key plot point in that show’s secondary OTP.

Simon Woodward
Simon Woodward
6 months ago

“It is really quite far-fetched that a 7-year-old Yu Xuan would get that far away from home on foot.” Agree, but I loved 7 year old Huang Yu Xuan and absolutely did not see that coming. Awesome reviews thanks 🙂

Samaaz aarzoo
Samaaz aarzoo
6 months ago

Oh my Goodness. What a Rollercoaster ride this was. I was bawling my eyes out, laughing, giggling, going through all sorts of emotions through this. I saw this series based on your list of the yearly reviews of the drama, it was on the top. And, boy, I am glad that I did. It show was so overwhelming emotionally, in a good way that I had to pause sometimes to take it all in, but couldn’t pause for long as I wanted to watch what would happen further. Although there are many aspects that are ingrained in my heart and brain, Yun Ru’s talk before suicide haunts me. Her pain, helplessness and sadness that had led to take such a drastic step makes my heart heavy and feel sorry for her.
After finishing the show, I wanted to discuss with someone, you know, to vent out my feelings, and when I read your detailed review, I felt like talking to a friend. Because I could relate to almost all points, it felt like I was having a conversation. Thankyou for sharing this, as there were some arcs I could not put a finger on, but we’re cleared by your review. All in all I am super emotional now and glad that I had an opportunity to watch this brilliantly spun show. Thankyou for your recommendation and review. I diligently follow this site in aspect of what drama to watch next and I have never ever been disappointed. Once again, Thankyou. Now I am gonna bask in the afterglow of the show. 🤭🤭🤭

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

A response to Logic Crack no. 4 – Uncle told Lee Zi Wei who just woke up as Wang Quan Sheng in 2010 that original LZW was in a vegetative state in Canada, but that was a lie to stop WQS from inquiring further. Shortly afterwards you see Uncle talking to older, crippled LZW to let him know that WQS had started on the path of going to Taipei in hopes of meeting Wang Yu Xuan in college. And crippled LZW told Jun Jie in 2008 that after the 2003 accident he had not gone back to Canada, he had stayed on in Taiwan for his recovery and made a living running a bed and breakfast.

So Uncle was in contact with all the versions of LZW on their three different timelines – original LZW who had an accident in 2003, LZW who woke up in 2010 as WQS, and the older LZW who died as WQS in 2017 and then went back to 2003 again two weeks after the accident and carried on until 2019 to help Huang Yu Xuan go back to the past. Mind-boggling, credit to the writers!

Small complaint, the English subtitles made it sound like Chen Yun Ru was murdered on New Year’s Eve 1999 which I assumed was 31 Dec 1998 but actually turned out to be the eve of Chinese New Year Eve – 14 Feb 1999. Confusing.

merij1
merij1
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

Brilliant observation about the uncle’s comment to her!

And yes, it also took us a while to realize that Chinese New Years Eve was not Dec 31.

Elaine Phua
Elaine Phua
6 months ago

Thank you for reviewing this kfangurl, else I would never have come across it on my own! Amazing, spellbinding and so heartfelt. So short yet they packed so much story-telling in. I’m really impressed with how the short flashbacks in the first couple of episodes really portrayed a beautiful, loving relationship and demonstrated how in love Yu Xuan and Wang Quan Sheng were and why she was so driven to find him again. I found it very moving as the emotions felt so real. The heartache, grief and denial each character – Yu Xuan, LZW, Jun Jie, and the real Chen Yun Ru felt very real and honest, didn’t ring hollow like some other dramas.

I was rather taken aback at how the show suddenly turned dark and tragic after such a fun and heartwarming first half. We find out it wasn’t just Yun Ru who died, but also Jun Jie whose life was ruined and poor Zi Wei suffered all those losses. I also agree with you that Psychiatrist was super creepy, not sure if the show had to lean so dark, it really made those couple of episodes rather disturbing. In fact I was rather concerned for the young child actor in real life, pretending to kill a cat and like it, and being right there in the torture and murder of Wen Rou 🙁 Hope he is not too affected!

As for the real Wang Quan Sheng, since he wasn’t portrayed as trapped in a box like Chen Yun Ru, I chose to interpret that his soul had truly died by the time Zi Wei took over his body in 2010. Unfortunately there wasn’t space to tell the story of gay WQS but Greg Hsu did an amazing job with a very sympathetic portrayal in just a few short minutes of flashback.

I also want to give a shoutout that the OTP relationship was super healthy and respectful from the get-go, and felt very natural in how they were built up in little moments of connection. The fun camaraderie of the three friends together was so great to watch too.

I also agree that Yu Xuan breaking up with WQS to go to Shanghai was extremely abrupt and uncharacteristic. But I wonder if it was to demonstrate that her character traits (bold, confident) when taken too far become flaws, when she makes a decision and sticks to it stubbornly but ends up hurting others. Losing WQS was painful and also a period of character growth for her, thus when she goes back in time and finds him again she cherishes him all the more.

merij1
merij1
6 months ago
Reply to  Elaine Phua

My wife and I totally shared your dismay that it went so creepy-dark near the end, with so little prior warning. The darkness of that character’s mental illness was executed extremely well — which is why it was so unsettling to watch — but we were totally unprepared to encounter it at all, which felt jarring after so many hours filled with romance and time-travel wonderment.

Also, as others have read me say far too often, one of my pet peeves with the Korean shows is when scriptwriters deploy inexplicable protagonist stupidity to drive or sustain their plot points. I was dismayed when even this extremely well-crafted show fell prey to that trope, which I consider to be lazy writing.

I find it merely annoying when it’s lovers who idiotically fail to communicate crucial facts or motivations due to being caught up in their emotional hurt or some other mental trap they can’t recognize.

But what drives me literally out of the room is when good-guy protagonists who know they are battling highly intelligent and murderous bad-guys . . . suddenly go inexplicably stupid.

Especially when doing so imperils those they love most. Because, duh, if you’re going to battle highly competent Evil, you need to bring your best game.

In this show, it only happened near the end, but I was very frustrated, even more so because I felt it marred a show I consider to be nearly perfect.

Spoiler alert:

Specifically, our FL had already figured out who murdered “her” years ago. So how is it possible that she’d not only allow the man she believes is that killer’s brother to enter her apartment late at night, but would proceed to confirm to him that she knows his brother was the murderer . . . and then while taking a call from her boyfriend who is still an hour outside of town, would not think it worthy to mention that she is alone with the killer’s brother in their apartment?! What the actual F.

An hour later, her boyfriend — after waiting 15 agonizing years to be with this woman again — finds himself helpless on the ground in front of the killer, who has now revealed himself as such. So what does he do, as the once-and-future killer of his girlfriend starts to walk away? He taunts him with the knowledge that he knows he’s the killer” “I know you’re the killer. I’ll tell everyone. Nyah Nyah Nyah.”

Did he really love her that little that he wanted to her to live the rest of her life horribly depressed and lonely? No, obviously not. He just became inexplicitly stupid. I was so mad we had to stop watching for an hour.

Thankfully, the show ended exceedingly well. That, I no longer take for granted, even from the best shows!

Pr Su
Pr Su
6 months ago

I saw your recommendation and watched it in 2 days. This is my first Taiwanese show and I loved it. I read your review after and somethings that I didn’t quite follow while watching now makes so much sense. Thanks for the excellent review.

pizzahxxi
pizzahxxi
6 months ago

I usually am a bit hesitant when watching time travel dramas, as they can easily become messy and over complicated, but I actually really enjoyed this one. It was interesting, but not super fast paced, which made it easy to watch. The cast also had great chemistry which made their interactions seem more natural 😁

I also really liked the title track of this drama. I thought that the lyrics fit perfectly with the drama 😀

kkxoel
kkxoel
6 months ago

Hi..long-time lurker here heh. I couldn’t help but comment because this show might be the best drama I’ve watched. I never thought a Taiwanese drama would top my list filled with kdramas. The writing, the acting, the characters, the emotional depth were amazing. THE FRIENDSHIPS!! THE OTP!!! I really cried my eyes out. I could not predict anything that was going to happen. I loved everything. Especially Greg Hsu ❤️ The bonus ending was short, but I’m so glad the production team decided to make it..just the confirmation of the somewhat open ending was truly a gift. The only downside is that this show has set my bar for dramas so high now 😭
I’ve been waiting for your review, and it did not disappoint! It pinpointed a lot of the details that I loved, as well as some that I missed. You’re absolutely right that the OST creeps up on you! Now I can’t bring myself to skip the opening music video of every episode..it brings tears to my eyes within the first few seconds. I’m currently rewatching the show to look out for all the details I missed before (and also to replay all LZW scenes hehe). I hope you will consider putting this show on your list of “Faves” 😊
And for anyone who’s reading and hasn’t watched Someday or One Day yet..PLEASE WATCH IT!!! (and resist the temptation to read spoilers..I’m so glad I did!) It’s an A+++ from me.

VaishJ
VaishJ
6 months ago

Watching this one right now… Trying not to peek into the review before I complete it…ah I need more self control 😁

phl1rxd
7 months ago

Hi Fangurl – I agree that the less you know about this before watching the better the view will be. I also think it is best binge watched as it gets complicated in spots. It has been months since I have seen this drama but the one thing I remember is Alice Ke’s performance. She is excellent in this drama.

I found this drama through one of the viewer’s comments – I cannot remember who posted about this but I am glad I watched it. It was worth the time for sure.

merij1
merij1
6 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

We just watched episode 1. Track 1, technically. It looks great so far! And yes, we are totally unspoiled thus far.

Miss T
7 months ago

Thank you for writing this, as it brings the beautiful memory of watching it the first time. I finished it early this year, but I still listen to the playlist from time to time, and each time they bring out the feelings again 🙂

D
D
7 months ago

I loved this drama. I’m so glad you watched it and gave it an A+. 🙂

seankfletcher
7 months ago

It is the type of show the Taiwanese do so well 😊

merij1
merij1
6 months ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

So far, this is the closest I’ve come to experiencing the feeling of wonder I got from those initial seasons of Lost.

We just started episode 10, so I still don’t know how it all resolves, but as of the last episode (seen from the ML’s POV), quite a few pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

Miss T
6 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Jumping in, may I suggest you to try The Victims Game? It’s only 8 episodes and available on Netflix. The show is more whodunnit than SDOD, but worth the watch for the characters.

Alaskan
Alaskan
7 months ago

I agree with almost everything you’ve said about Someday or One Day. I enjoyed this drama’s fresh take on the tried-and-true time travel genre and, like you, I was nervous going into the finale. I should have had more confidence in the writer’s ability to end the drama intelligently given the writing up to that point. Thankfully the drama ending was consistent with the rest of the drama — smart and lovely.

Timescout
7 months ago

Skipped most of this, which is a rarity as I love reading your reviews. But… I haven’t watched this one yet and didn’t want to know too much of the whole plot beforehand. 😊

Lee Tennant
Lee Tennant
7 months ago

What a lovely review, I’m so glad you liked Someday or One Day. I thought it was one of the best shows this year from anywhere and it’s so good to see Taiwan producing something of this quality.

For me, however, I didn’t see this as being an epic love story (although the main OTP were wonderful and both actors put in such amazing performances). I also don’t believe they ended up together. For me this show was about the destructive power of grief and coming to terms with living your life without a person.

I saw the time loop as representing a grief spiral: a person trapped in the past constantly stuck repeating the beats of their relationship and unable to move forward with their life. As the show unfolded I became increasingly uncomfortable with the body count necessary for this couple’s happiness. As such, I found Yu Xuan’s decision to sacrifice her personal happiness for the sake of breaking the loop and moving forward without Li Zi Wei to be a profoundly beautiful statement about letting go, putting grief behind you and moving on with your life. A lesson about things getting better that I wish that poor Wang Quan Sheng was able to benefit from – although at least Chen Yun Ru and Mo Jun Jie were able to.

Regardless of what you took from the drama, it was a profound and bittersweet ride that most dramas this year could not come close to replicating and I’m so happy you were able to go on this ride without anybody spoiling it for you. Hopefully 2021 will have a gem this good waiting for us as well.

Prashil Prakash
Prashil Prakash
6 months ago
Reply to  Lee Tennant

Hi Dame Holly!
The moment I saw title I knew you’d be here!

This one is pretty high on my watchlist.
Would’ve been easier if it was on Netflix. But will make do with Viki for now.

Lee Tennant
Lee Tennant
6 months ago

Well I highly recommend it – as you know 😉

mnabc12341
mnabc12341
7 months ago

do see the bonus ending. it gives a small glimpse into their lives after breaking the cycle

Lehar
7 months ago

Lovely review !! You analysed it so well . I am so happy you finally watched it . I loved this drama ,…after seeing few dramas , i never thought i never gonna like one but this was such a gem . It took me 3 eps and I finally loved it so much. One of the best OTP … I wanted to see more of them during their college days .

Passerby
Passerby
7 months ago

I was mostly intrigued by the premise when I was watching it and didn’t think too much about it. But something about the story really sticks to you long after, and I’ve come to love it more and more over time. Oh and I loooove the OST. The songs still give me chills sometimes. Especially the Wu Bai time-traveling song, brings me back every time I hear it!

Michele
Michele
7 months ago

I’m SO GLAD you loved this one as much as I did!!! Thank you for your really enjoyable review – I can only imagine how tricky it would have been to write. 😆😆😆

Hana Bilqisthi
7 months ago

What a great review! I really like reading your review 😍💕❤️