I know a lot of folks really like this show, so let me preface this dropped post by saying that I really don’t hate this show.
I don’t even dislike it, really.
I just.. don’t feel like I have the interest to keep going with this, even though it’s not bad, objectively speaking.
I’ll try to explain more in the post, and hopefully, this post will help you to figure out whether this one’s for you, even though I’ve decided that it probably isn’t for me.
MY TRAJECTORY WITH THIS ONE
I started out liking this one well enough, and figured that this could work as a pretty enjoyable, low-stakes, almost fluffy sort of watch.
I found the tropey rom-com stuff fairly entertaining, and I found the emergency rescue stuff reasonably interesting as well.
Unfortunately, partly due to Show’s length, and how that affects the story pacing, 10 episodes in, I find myself without the commitment to see this through for another 30 episodes.
I don’t dislike it, to be clear. I just find it rather too long for what I’m willing to invest of my drama hours right now, and I realize that I’d feel more satisfied investing those drama hours elsewhere.
Again, that’s not to say that you wouldn’t like this, so hopefully the rest of this post will help you to decide whether this is something that you’d enjoy.
WHY I PICKED THIS UP IN THE FIRST PLACE
The whole reason I checked out this show, to begin with, is thanks to Elaine mentioning it in response to my Reset review.
I’d actually had this show on my list for a while, thanks to recommendations by others, as well as general positive comments, but I hadn’t realized that it was Bai Jing Ting playing lead.
Well, to be fair, Bai Jing Ting wasn’t really on my radar much, until Reset. 😅
To be clear, it’s not like I’m fangirling over Bai Jing Ting or anything. It’s just that after seeing him in an almost beta male role in Reset, I found it an intriguing idea, to see him be badass, in this show.
Mild, studious-looking Heyun, as a tough SWAT Team leader? Ahaha. The idea tickled me tremendously.
And so I went and checked out the trailer (above), and was thoroughly surprised by:
1, how light and almost frothy it looks, because I’d expected Show to lean more serious based on the synopsis, and
2, how romance-heavy it looks as well, because I’d expected any romance to be secondary to the SWAT and medical stuff.
All this was more than enough to pique my interest, and get me to press play, pretty much right away.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Based on what I’ve gathered in the 10 episodes that I’ve watched, here are a few things which I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. I do think this show benefits from being binge-watched.
I don’t have the time to binge-watch anything these days, so anything I add to my drama plate has to join a rotating roster of dramas, while I juggle my posting schedule for both the blog and Patreon, and I do think my personal situation worked against my ability to enjoy this show.
However, the way this show is set up, it’s kinda slice-of-life, and everything’s spread out over 40 episodes, so it can feel a little meandering at times.
Binge-watching can help make everything feel more condensed.
2. It’s relatively light
I think this show works well in the “I’m kinda tired and don’t want to think too hard but still want to watch some drama that engages me reasonably well” category.
Given a bit of time, the slices of life build up quite nicely, which should help you to feel more naturally interested in our characters and their journeys.
3. There’s a touch of a nationalistic vibe from time to time
..but it’s not terribly heavy-handed, nor does it happen so often that you would find it so in-yo-face.
An example of this would be the way the SWAT team announces during training, that the rifle they’re using is a homegrown item that is as good as the Russian equivalent.
4. This does lean tropey.
I think it’s good to expect it, because this is the overall feel that I’m getting, at episode 10.
In particular, I thought Mi Ka (Ma Si Chun) lending her rent money to the patient’s father felt a bit too much like a Candy stretch.
That’s pretty typical of the territory in this show, so if that kind of stuff doesn’t bother you, then this show might be a good fit for you.
I think a fluffy rom-com lens might actually come in rather useful, like when characters lean into tropey behavior so much that it defies logic.
Show’s general vibe
In effect, I feel like Show’s a hodge-podge mash-up of different shows that I’ve seen, all mixed together into one drama world. And, in principle, I don’t mind it, really.
Let me try to lay it all out for you.
The SWAT Team dude versus the doctor set-up reminds me of Descendants of the Sun, in a way, with the tough guy meeting the passionate doctor premise.
However, instead of leaning more serious like DOTS, this show feels more light and rom-com-y, kinda in the vein of Touch Your Heart.
I’m no expert on emergency rescue, certainly, but the vibe I get, is that the romance and relationship stuff is enjoying more emphasis, with this medical and emergency stuff serving more as a backdrop, with some interesting nuggets of information to glean, if you were so interested.
At the same time, the elements of our male lead being tough and shouty with our female lead, particularly in our early episodes, reminds me of Pasta, where Lee Sun Gyun’s Chef character had been tough and shouty with Gong Hyo Jin’s apprentice chef character.
[EARLY EPISODE SPOILERS]
This part is a little startling to my eyes, honestly, but I rationalize that the shouty and the discipline is organic to the early episode setting, which is an intense training camp, meant to replicate the discipline expected of the SWAT Team.
Importantly, Show is quick to indicate to us that male lead Xing Ke Lei (Bai Jing Ting) isn’t a jerk when he’s not on duty as a SWAT Team instructor.
In fact, quite like Pasta, female lead Mi Ka (Ma Si Chun) has a nice interaction with Xing Ke Lei, and even thinks of him as a nice person, before she meets him as her chief instructor.
I think that, and the fact that Xing Ke Lei clearly has a secret soft spot for Mi Ka, helps to soften the impact of him being shouty at her for her lack of cooperation, with regards to the training camp rules.
To be fair, Mi Ka really does flout some fundamental and very important rules, with the way she goes running off during training hours without permission, not once, but twice.
She does attempt to explain that it is literally a life and death situation, but again, I concede that Xing Ke Lei’s point holds true, that order and discipline comes first, in their world, and personal reasons are not to be used as excuses to disregard that discipline.
On this point, I think Show does a good job of setting things up, so that we see and understand both their points of view. Right now, the fact that they have opposing stances makes a lot of sense.
One other drama that this show gives me echoes of, is Dr. Romantic, with the hospital scenes that we get.
Like when Mi Ka goes running back to the hospital to watch the surgery by Dr. Shao (Wang Yang), and then runs after him for an emergency consult regarding her friend’s condition.
In this scene, Mi Ka gives me flashes of Seo Hyun Jin’s character in Dr. Romantic, with her conviction that being emotionally attached to a patient is way better than being numb to how precious someone’s life is.
Overall, it’s a vibe that I find rather pleasant, in a low-key sort of way.
Bai Jing Ting as Xing Ke Lei
It is absolutely as trippy as I’d imagined, to see Bai Jing Ting as a badass, lean, SWAT expert machine.
And, his somewhat delicate features makes it extra trippy, because that just makes the tough badassery so unexpected.
He definitely comes across as buffer and tougher, than his Heyun character in Reset, and every time he has to act all tough, I reflexively feel slightly mind-boggled, heh.
At the same time, Show does also make Ke Lei a bit of a dork, particularly when it comes to his loveline with Mi Ka.
I alternated between finding this endearing and perplexing, because Show does push it to rather unbelievable extremes. That’s when the fluffy rom-com lens that I mentioned earlier, ought to come in useful.
Ma Si Chun as Mi Ka
As long as I had my fluffy rom-com lens on, I found Mi Ka fine, as a character.
I have to say, though, that without that rom-com lens on, I found her almost too good to be true, sometimes.
But, for a rom-com heroine (where good-hearted Candy types are the norm), I found Mi Ka perfectly normal. If you get what I mean. 😅
From what I’ve seen so far, Show does put this loveline front and center a lot of the time, so if you’re signing up because you think the romance looks cute, Show does put effort into it.
Meaning, it’s not a bait ‘n switch.
Personally, I found my interest in the this loveline rather unpredictable.
Sometimes, I felt pretty into it, and then at other times, I found certain beats too cutesy or clichéd, &/or long drawn out.
The OTP chemistry is reasonably solid, from what I’ve seen so far, but the narrative hoops that need to be jumped through, to put Ke Lei and Mi Ka in the same orbit, are not my favorite thing.
Sometimes, Ke Lei’s dork tendencies perk up my interest in the OTP loveline, but again, sometimes, it feels like it’s getting to be a bit much, and that exact dork quality makes me lose interest again. Does that make sense?
All that to say, I find the OTP loveline reasonably engaging, but it doesn’t exactly suck me in, and I don’t feel 100% engaged with it.
That said, here are a few early episode thoughts about the loveline.
E1-2. In terms of the OTP set-up, I rather enjoy the hidden backstory aspect, where Mi Ka is clueless that the person who had saved her life, 2 years ago, when she’d been held hostage at that jewelry store, had been none other than Xing Ke Lei.
The fact that he knows who she is, and has a pre-existing soft spot for her, is pretty great.
The way he works to be nice to her, while still maintaining his gruff instructor persona, is quite cute.
Like how he adds on to her punishment by telling her to clean the bathroom, when all he wants to do, is give her access to the locked bathroom, because she hasn’t had a chance to shower.
I’m also curious to see how and when Mi Ka will piece together the fact that the special forces officer, whom she so admires, and to whom she owes her life, is none other than Xing Ke Lei himself.
Also, I do appreciate the touches of dork that we are already seeing, in Xing Ke Lei, when it comes to Mi Ka.
E3-4. The growing understanding between Xing Ke Lei and Mi Ka is also quite nice to see. His gaze is following her a lot more noticeably, which is also nice.
E7-8. Ke Lei is such a dork for not realizing that Mi Ka’s transfer to the ER means that she wouldn’t be eating those KFC breakfasts that he keeps sending to Neurology. 😂
E9. Ke Lei being Mi Ka’s secret landlord is definitely meant to be cute and funny, but it’s not really working for me, somehow. I find this arc rather try-hard, to be brutally honest. 😝
The secondary OTP
At around the episode 3 mark, I found my interest picking up around the secondary loveline between Shu Wen Bo and Ruan Qing Xia (Chen Hao and Jiang Pei Yao).
I found it quite cute and amusing, that she would go from being annoyed with him, to delighted by him. And the fact that he’s so robotic and clueless, also makes it quite entertaining.
However, once she decides that she likes him, the way she goes about trying to capture his heart, is rather cringey, to be honest.
And, at episode 9-10, where she’s colluding with Wen Bo’s mother, to make this loveline happen, I find myself cringing even more.
That does not seem very feasible nor romantic, to be honest, and I find myself willing the antics to stop, please and soon. 😅
The hospital &/or emergency rescue cases
There are legit times when I find myself more interested in the actual hospital cases, than in Ke Lei’s romantic interest in Mi Ka. How unexpected, since I’d signed up for the romance.
The hospital cases give me Dr. Romantic vibes, and the way Show has unexpected situations, like the emergency surgery in the elevator in episodes 5-6, ties it up nicely with the emergency rescue theme.
Director Shao and his rogue twin surgeries at around the same point in our story, does also remind me of Kim Sabu from Dr. Romantic, which I mean in a good way.
So, surprisingly enough, I found myself perking up more at the actual hospital &/or emergency cases, than at either of the lovelines.
Who woulda thunk it? 😜
Like I said, I don’t hate this show. Heck, I don’t even dislike it.
It’s just that I find myself dragging my feet between episodes, when it comes to pressing “play.”
When time goes by after I’ve ended an episode, I find my interest to progress to the next episode fading instead of growing stronger.
I do think that if I had the luxury of binge-watching this one, that that might just solve a lot of my issues around waning interest.
Coz, when you binge-watch something, you don’t leave yourself much time to think.
However, as it stands, I actually took wayyy longer to go from episode 9 to episode 10 than I think is healthy.
By the time I convinced myself to hit “play” on episode 10, I had to peep at episode 9 first, just to remember where I was at, with our story.
That’s a sure sign that this one’s not engaging me the way I want it to.
And, with 30 more episodes to go (so many!!), I honestly think that I’d be happier investing those drama hours elsewhere.
It was low-key fun while it lasted, but I honestly don’t think this one’s for me, after all – smoldery badass dorky Bai Jing Ting or no. 😁