Open Thread: Autumn’s Concerto Episodes 4, 5 & 6

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I’m enjoying the growing bond between Guang Xi and Mu Cheng quite nicely, which is why this shot of them is headlining our post today. 😊

SOME IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, before we begin:

ZERO SPOILER POLICY

1. We will be adopting a ZERO SPOILER POLICY for this Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point.

The spoiler tags don’t work in email notifications, therefore, please take note that WE WILL NOT BE USING SPOILER TAGS FOR THIS OPEN THREAD. 

ANY AND ALL SPOILERS WILL BE REDACTED to protect first-time viewers in our midst (although, I’d appreciate it if you would save me the trouble of having to redact spoilers, heh 😅).

This includes, but is not limited to, how characters &/or relationships develop, later in the show.

We need to protect the innocent! 😉

SPOILER ZONE

2. HOWEVER!! If you’d like to discuss spoilers from a rewatcher’s point of view, I’ve created a SPOILER ZONE for you, where you can discuss all the spoilers you’d like, without the need for spoiler warnings. You can find it here!

Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 4

I don’t know if it’s Show or if it’s me, I find myself enjoying this episode less than the last 3 episodes, which I’d found rather slurpable and quite cracky, despite the problematic actions of so many of our characters.

This episode, I find myself feeling less engaged, perhaps because Guang Xi and Mu Cheng, who are our OTP, spend most of this episode apart? That could be it.

Or perhaps it could be because Show continues to lay on the mistreatment and suffering on Mu Cheng in reaaally thick layers, and I’m growing a bit tired of it? That could be it too.

I’m assuming that this is just a small bump in the road, though, and that things will pick up soonish, because this show is a well-loved classic for a reason.

The first arc, where Ai Li basically kidnaps Mu Cheng and holds her hostage, while taunting Guang Xi to come save her, is pretty out there, to my eyes, but a manhua-makjang sort of lens takes care of that.

With a manhua-makjang lens on, I can buy that a character would go to such lengths to taunt Guang Xi, because she’s feels that offended and humiliated, by how he’d toyed with her before, as part of a bet.

I guess it’s the way Ai Li treats Mu Cheng like she’s some kind of object, that niggles at me the most. I rationalize, though, that this is because Ai Li is jealous of Mu Cheng, because while Ai Li had failed to capture Guang Xi’s heart, Mu Cheng’s got Guang Xi running to her rescue.

The whole deal, that Guang Xi has to block the hockey pucks without any protective gear, in order to save Mu Cheng, is, again, the stuff of manhua-makjangs (I’m sure there’s such a genre out there, right?).

But, it does unlock a great deal of mutual concern and protectiveness between Guang Xi and Mu Cheng, so I’m willing to just roll with it.

And, can’t lie; the way Guang Xi shields Mu Cheng with his own body, when those pucks, at those speeds, are so lethal, is pretty darn swoony.

In that moment, with Guang Xi being so earnest about protecting Mu Cheng, and Mu Cheng being actually moved to shed tears for what he’s suffering for her, it feels like all the context is stripped away, and these two really care about each other.

The way Mu Cheng embraces him to herself feels so instinctive and protective, even though it’s technically Guang Xi who’s protecting her.

Also, the fact that Guang Xi can even leak a smile in this situation, despite being pelted with speeding pucks, tells us how much he likes Mu Cheng, which we already know, sure, but which is always nice to have reinforced.

Tuo Ye earns a brownie point with me this episode, for showing up and creating a big enough distraction, such that Guang Xi and Mu Cheng can get away. Maybe I misjudged him, and he’s a good guy after all.

I appreciate the fact that when they get on that bus, the first thing Guang Xi does, is apologize to Mu Cheng, that she wouldn’t be dealing with such situations, if not for him.

I also like the idea of them starting on a fresh slate.

And it does feel like, with the way he put himself in harm’s way to protect her, Guang Xi’s evened the score between them effectively enough, to reasonably ask for that fresh slate.

The reason I like the idea of a fresh slate, is because I like the idea of them putting all the games and pretenses behind them, so that they can interact in a more open and honest manner.

The way Guang Xi starts talking about never having sat in a bus before, and the way Mu Cheng responds with stories of how she’d hated taking the bus as a kid, because she’d felt so scared of being abandoned, feels like a step in the right direction.

On that note, poor Mu Cheng. I do hate that Aunt’s attempt to abandon her, had scarred her so much, and caused her such long-lasting distress. 😭

Also, it is a little heart-wobbly, that Guang Xi indirectly tells Mu Cheng that he cares about her, and therefore can’t not be involved in her life.

The other major arc this episode, is of Uncle Cai looking to make his move on Mu Cheng while Guang Xi’s at that charity event with Yi Qian, and Aunt getting alerted to his shady leanings, by the lady who sold Uncle Cai the turtle. Blech and double blech. 😓

It’s actually kind of nice to see Guang Xi and Yi Qian get along. Like I said, Yi Qian strikes me as a genuinely nice person, and so far, it doesn’t look like she’d scheme to get Guang Xi’s affections.

However. It does look like Xu Fang Gao, the nerd who’d sold reports to Guang Xi, has a crush on Yi Qian, and is not at all pleased that Guang Xi’s hanging out with Yi Qian.

Now I can certainly see him scheming to get Guang Xi away from Yi Qian, so maybe that’s where Show is going to go.

I’m intrigued that Guang Xi really does faint at the party, and needs to take medication, once he gets to his car.

Gosh. Does Guang Xi have some sort of grave illness, then? Please tell me this isn’t one of those shows where our main character turns out to be terminally ill, and doesn’t survive the story..? 🥺

We’ll have to wait to find out more about that, but for the record, I’m somewhat bummed at the possibility.

I’m relieved that Aunt AND Guang Xi get to Shende Hall in time to stop Uncle Cai from sexually assaulting Mu Cheng, but all in all, things aren’t great.

For one thing, the scene itself is pretty darn gross, with Uncle Cai pinning Mu Cheng down, and whispering in his lecherous way, that he will love her properly, if she behaves herself. UGH. 🤮

Another thing is, I feel for Mu Cheng, who’s likely experienced more trauma in her life than most people do in an entire lifetime. She’s probably more than a little scarred from everything already; she didn’t need to also be attacked by the father figure in her life. Gosh.

Plus, Aunt is in denial about Uncle Cai betraying her, and is happy to grasp at illogical straws, like the idea of Mu Cheng seducing him. That sucks for Mu Cheng, because now, on top of being attacked by Uncle Cai, she’s being blamed for it, too.

I don’t consider myself a violent person, but, not gonna lie; I did get a burst of gratification, from Guang Xi bursting in there and beating up Uncle Cai for being such trash. That’s how triggering Uncle Cai has been, I guess.

What a bummer, though, that Uncle Cai turns around and accuses Guang Xi of beating him up for no reason.

I can believe that the CCTV cameras in the building aren’t working, since Shende Hall is technically an abandoned building, but dang, that just makes it possible for Uncle Cai to insist that his fabricated version of events is the truth.

I hope Lawyer Lin really does have some kind of hidden card up his sleeve, with the way he tells Guang Xi that there has to be another way to solve the situation.

Meanwhile, I’m mildly mollified by the way Aunt goes home and then turns on Uncle Cai, for what he’s done.

So.. even though she’s more than willing to blame Mu Cheng for what’s happened, she’s at least cognizant of the truth, that Uncle Cai’s a lecherous old man lusting after the daughter he helped raise.

However, because Aunt is so keen to grasp at any straws that will tell her that Uncle Cai hasn’t betrayed her, I’m concerned that Uncle Cai’s pointing out Mu Cheng’s secret mission to Aunt, and telling her that Mu Cheng’s secretly scheming to take a government exam.

That could well flip Aunt over to Uncle Cai’s side, all over again, and that’s just.. not great, for Mu Cheng. 😓

Episode 5

Welp. I guess I was kinda right about Aunt flipping over to Uncle Cai’s side, because when Mu Cheng tells Aunt that she has been preparing for the exams, but didn’t do anything to seduce Uncle Cai, Aunt doesn’t believe a word of it, and throws Mu Cheng out of the house.

I don’t know whether this is Aunt’s way of getting the best of both worlds, the only way she knows how, by holding onto the lie, so that she doesn’t have to admit that Uncle Cai’s betrayed her, while keeping Mu Cheng away from Uncle Cai (because she knows, deep down, that Uncle Cai is guilty).

I mean, Aunt does look rather guilty, after she throws Mu Cheng to the ground like that.

That’s what makes me think that this is her way of keeping Mu Cheng safe, without having to admit the truth about Uncle Cai.

I personally think that it’s absolutely best for Mu Cheng to leave that house.

But, this is the only family that Mu Cheng’s known, for most of her life, so I can see why Mu Cheng would be reluctant to leave, and why she continues to cling to Aunt, even though Aunt is throwing her away.

Plus, Mu Cheng’s a Candy character, so of course she’s the type of person who would return good for evil. I’m guessing that Mu Cheng’s steadfastness will play a part in changing Aunt’s mind, further down the road.

I’m really glad that Guang Xi is there for Mu Cheng when she gets thrown out of the house, because I really do think that Mu Cheng needs the moral support now, more than ever.

I’m glad Guang Xi helps Mu Cheng find a place to stay, but I have to say, there’s a fair bit of suspension of disbelief required around Jacko’s conveniently empty-yet-well-stocked house.

Like, it’s been empty for some time, but there’s fresh linen in the bathroom, and milk, and bread, and eggs too, for breakfast..? Amazing! 😂

However, I do appreciate the scene of Mu Cheng crying in the bathroom, because that’s way more realistic than her not needing to cry about all the horrible things that have happened. Like I said, girl’s been through more trauma than most people in their entire lifetimes.

So, it feels good that Show is acknowledging that, and giving her time and space to cry.

And, it really is sweet of Guang Xi to tell her that he’ll always be there for her when she needs him; I think that’s a really sweet gesture of support that Mu Cheng really needs right now, when she feels so lost and alone.

I also appreciate that Guang Xi apologizes to Mu Cheng, saying that none of this would have happened, if he hadn’t been late that day.

This, when he couldn’t help being late, because he’d fainted.

That really does endear Guang Xi to me, because this really isn’t his fault at all.

But of course, Show isn’t going to just let this go, just like that, and so, the next day, before you know it, rumors about Mu Cheng sleeping with Uncle Cai for money are flying all over campus. Ugh.

The way the people on campus behave around Mu Cheng is suuuper unrealistic, but it’s quite typical of dramas of this vintage, so I guess it’s par for the course, that they’re such overt bullies to someone whom they don’t even know.

I’m glad that Tuo Ye’s there to defend Mu Cheng, but yeah, this wasn’t my favorite stretch of the episode.

The Truth Commission Hearing is also kinda out there, but with a manhua lens, I can roll with it.

I like the idea of Guang Xi applying himself and working hard, for the sake of clearing Mu Cheng’s name.

And, it does mean that Tuo Ye and Guang Xi are working together, because they both want to help Mu Cheng, so that’s a positive thing as well.

Given how angry Xu Fang Guo is, that Guang Xi’s hanging out with Yi Qian, I’m not at all surprised that he volunteers to represent Uncle Cai for the Truth Commission Hearing.

All he wants, is to bring Guang Xi down, after all.

It does niggle at me that Guang Xi’s pushing himself so hard, and taking those pills for his as-yet-unrevealed condition, though. I worry that he’ll end up collapsing again.

Also, I’m no doctor, but based on the symptoms that we see – dizzy spells, blurred vision and numbness in his hands – my drama instincts are reaching for the idea that he’s got a brain tumor.

Which, eep, if it’s true. 🙈

I’m glad that Guang Xi gets some help and some practical pointers from Yi Qian, that lead him to seek our Lawyer Lin (that shaky camerawork though, during that basketball one-on-one! 🥴).

At least this way, it feels like he’s not drowning as much.

It still feels like an uphill battle though, and Lawyer Lin is right; it’s not going to be easy trying to convince Aunt to testify in favor of Mu Cheng.

Poor Guang Xi. He’s probably feeling pretty overwhelmed right now, isn’t he?

Episode 6

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to clue in, but this is the episode where it suddenly clicked in my head, that the best lens for this show, is retro heightened melodrama.

Maybe it’s coz I’ve always thought of this show as a romance, because of its branding.

It’s taken me almost 6 whole episodes to shake that preconceived notion and realize that Show actually revels in shocking its audience, with its melodramatic turns.

This, even though Show’s already dipped into some pretty dramatic turns already, what with Mu Cheng getting kidnapped in episode 4. 😅

Not that I actually mind, really. It can be quite fun to ride the dramatic train with Show and its chosen exaggerated developments.

This episode is the one where I finally understand that Aunt isn’t actually Mu Cheng’s aunt, but her stepmother.

That definitely puts a different spin on things, at least a little bit.

For one thing, I can see why Aunt had been so perplexed to be saddled with Mu Cheng, after Dad had died. Mu Cheng’s not even her daughter, and now, she’s lost her source of support, AND she even has a child to take care of, on her own.

I suddenly understand Aunt’s bitterness a lot better.

The way Mu Cheng silently takes in the bedding and leaves Aunt that note, is classic Candy, but I’m coming around to the idea that Mu Cheng is really just that pure of a person.

Her note only dwells on her gratitude towards Aunt, for all that Aunt has done for her, and her wistfulness, at how she won’t be there to help Aunt with the bedding anymore, and of course that makes Aunt tear up, and soften towards her.

Which is exactly when Aunt discovers Uncle Cai’s stash of secret photos that he’s taken of Mu Cheng.

Logically, it’s a stretch that Uncle Cai would’ve been able to take pictures secretly.

I mean, with the technology available to the average person at the time, he probably would’ve had to use an actual camera, which is not a very secretive method at all.

But I’ll roll with it, because I do want Aunt to be confronted with the fact that Uncle Cai had been preying on Mu Cheng all along.

I’m glad that Aunt decides to leave Uncle Cai, even though he says all those grateful words to her, before leaving for the hearing.

Pfft. Tuo Ye’s adventure in getting the CCTV video from Ai Li, is pretty out there, with him planting what appears to be drugs (but probably isn’t real drugs) on Ai Li’s companions, and getting an acquaintance cop to come in a make a fuss, so that he can drag Ai Li outta there, like they’re comrades.

I can’t tell if Tuo Ye is out to fake-seduce Ai Li, or if Ai Li herself is the one getting all excited by herself, at the sudden proximity to toned male muscle, ha.

It’s equal parts cringey and entertaining, the way Ai Li takes Tuo Ye home, tells her housekeeper not to come upstairs, no matter what she hears, and then gets excited about Tuo Ye tying her to the bedpost, which she assumes is for kinky sexytimes – only to have Tuo Ye make off with her laptop, while she’s tied up.

Hahaha. Oh dear. How ridiculous and humiliating, at the same time. 😂

It kinda feels rather too soon for Mu Cheng to be telling Guang Xi that it’s ok if the hearing doesn’t go well, and that she doesn’t care what other people think, because she will have him by her side.

Um. Wasn’t it not so long ago, that she’d been determined not to get close to Guang Xi, because she believed that Guang Xi wouldn’t be in her life long-term..?

This new thinking around Guang Xi does feel a bit rushed, in that sense, because while he’s there for her now, it doesn’t automatically mean that he sees her in his future, and so this feels a bit.. presumptuous?

However, I do like the new sense of openness in their communication.

Even though the way she tells him that he has a new sense of maturity about him now, feels rather contrived to my eyes, I like that it makes him happy, and I also like the sense of them coming together to face the world, side by side.

The hearing itself is rowdy and quite ridiculous, but this isn’t even an actual court of law, and is attended mainly by college students who are curious about the scandal, so that’s not terribly surprising.

The lines of questioning, and the answers by witnesses, are all pretty out there, and we end the episode with Xu Fang Guo accusing Guang Xi of volunteering to defend Mu Cheng, in order to cover up the scandal, that he’s been sleeping with her at Shende Hall.

It’s getting wild up in here, and I’m just hoping that Aunt will make a dramatic entrance, next episode, with the photographic evidence that will help Mu Cheng and Guang Xi win their case against Uncle Cai.

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j3ffc
j3ffc
1 month ago

I promised myself that I would at least try to do one bit of service with this show, which was to note all of the felonies committed against Mu Cheng but I lost count 2/3 of the way through Ep 4.

Ele Nash
1 month ago

Oh, kfangurl, like you, my lens is see-sawing all over the place. On the one hand, it’s senseless bullying a la Boys Over Flowers; on the other, it’s melodrama. unlikely scenes where death is plausible (it is SO dangerous to get hit by a flying puck with only a shirt and inner-steel for protection 😱); then on a third hand, it’s romance, with Guang Xi looking all swoony-handsome revising hard to help poor Mu Cheng; then I need like a fourth hand where it’s serious, terrifying reality-drama showing sexual assault…

At times I’m irritated by the stupid bullying, then really quite cross (how the HELL could any woman square taking a screenshot of Predator Uncle assaulting Mu Cheng with personal revenge??!!), then ill – I mean, fist-clenching-I-can-hardly-watch-because-this-is-traumatising-and-truly-distressing ill – as Mu Cheng is a breath away from being raped. My feelings feel as tumultuous, and not landing very often in a good, ah-this-is-cute, way 🤯

I don’t know how I’m meant to react to all of it, and I’m pretty sure my only motivation to watch now is Guang Xi. He is rather handsome and did at least apologise for bullying Mu Cheng and it seems it’s dawned on him how unjust the world around him can be and, while the Medical Problem may add a further layer of angst, I mind that much less than the angst surrounding Mu Cheng.

I’m hanging in there by my fingernails, kfangurl!

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

ele, hang in there. for fear of giving out too much i can not tell you more, except really, hang in.
and i share your affection for guang xi.

Ele Nash
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

I noticed talk last week about his hair, but I think it’s generally fine and sometimes looks really very fetching 😊 I trust you, Eda, and am hanging on!

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  Ele Nash

awesome, stay with it!
(and i am glad that you trust me, although sometimes we might disagree, but it’s also ok.)

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago

you must admit, our villain turns right in front of our eyes into a pretty sensitive, compassionate, considerate…even gentle? prince who is always there to save and protect the candy girl from harm and abuse – most impressive, and i hope that any lingering negative feelings towards him are now gone. as i noted before, the transformation is a bit too rushed making it unbelievable for us, but i’ll take it, as it is so soothing to my heart.

his reaction to abuse (especially with sexual undertones to a woman) is instinctive and guttural, while he by himself is shown to be quite abusive and nasty in those first episodes.

i actually liked both scenes of the hockey rink, as they are such an extreme juxtaposition of the ML’s character, but even in the first one, where he is a complete jerk, somehow the show managed to make me feel that somewhere inside this chest is beating a warm heart waiting to be touched. i must admit, i really like vanness wu, (our ML) who truly impressed me with his acting in princes weiyong. i also like his unusually slanted narrow eyes and in general, not the usual asian pretty boy look. he just looks to me… special, different, interesting features.

in regards to candy’s girl’s difficult fate in her life, – i agree with KFG- it is difficult to watch, but it is way more difficult for any woman actually live in a domestic violence situation, which is a pretty common occurrence anywhere in the world. for that reason, i am grateful to this drama directing our attention to this overwhelmingly painful situation. if we as a human community want to change anything in this world, we first of all have to see and acknowledge that there is a PROBLEM, and ponder it. usually these kind of problems can be painful and emotionally taxing, but without seeing it how can we have compassion for it? and i am aware that there are people that want to watch a drama for pure entertainment and pleasure, and there is a place for such, but in my opinion dramas that help us see the flaws, the pain, the suffering – those are the ones that might move the needle to create a better world.

so dramas that bring us important issues like mental problems (it’s ok, it’s love), euthanasia (doctor john), future of our society if we are complacent and ignorant (the devil judge), value of life and death (sea bok), divorce, the place of it in our lives, adultery and it’s impact (my wife’s having an affair this week)… these are meant to make us FEEL, and i believe that are of great importance to us as a whole.

eda harris
eda harris
1 month ago
Reply to  eda harris

i just wanted to add or clarify since may be i gave a wrong impression. the drama is not really about mu cheng’s history, domestic abuse or her suffering from this. of course it has an impact, but it is shown to us as a necessary element to understand her character. so the drama, although it gets into the topic of domestic abuse at the beginning, it is totally NOT about that… sorry, if anybody misunderstood it.

MC
MC
1 month ago

Hey fan girl. I know I said I’d watch this or at least give it a try but … somehow I just couldn’t with all the drama and unfairness so I’m not watching but I’m reading your recaps and reactions. I can’t deal with all the crazy nonsense FL has to deal with. But I appreciate all your write ups and recaps and reactions all the same! Makes me feel like I’m half watching if that makes sense…