Early Access: A Dream Of Splendor [China] Episode 1 & 2

Hi everyone!

Thanks for enjoying my episode 1 notes on Yumi’s Cells 2! Today, I thought I’d share my episode 1 notes on A Dream Of Splendor [China], because it’s growing on me nicely, and I was wondering if you’d like to join me? 🤗

These are my episode 1 notes, exactly as they appear on Patreon, ie, without screenshots (I’m saving those for the actual review).

I hope you all enjoy, and I hope you’ll consider joining us over on Patreon, for the rest of the discussions! ❤️

Episode notes:

E1-2. This show originally hadn’t been on my radar, but lately, it seems like everyone I know is raving about it – including my own mother and sister! – so of course I had to give it a look.

After these first two episodes, I have to admit that I’m not quite in love with Show yet, but it does seem very promising.

For a start, the production values are very high, as far as I can tell. The attention to detail in sets and costumes is quite impressive, and this story world looks halfway between real and lived-in, and slightly ethereal and magical, with how pretty some of the scenes are.

I did feel slightly thrown off by the opening scenes, which lean dark, with prisoners being tortured and interrogated.

Don’t let that deter you, though, because that lets up after a few minutes.

It’s mainly to introduce us to our male lead Gu Qian Fan, who’s nicknamed the devil of the Intelligence Agency of the Capital Security Office, and who’s tasked to retrieve a very important painting for a very secret investigation.

After that, we’re introduced to Pan Er, our female lead, who, so far, seems to be the heart of our story – at least to my eyes.

I love her teahouse, everything’s so simple, yet elegant, so rustic, yet stylish and charming. And, I love the idea that she’s a shrewd businesswoman who knows how to handle herself in almost any kind of situation.

When those thugs come charging into her teahouse, I was thoroughly surprised by how she and her partner San Niang fight back with so much fierce gusto. These two aren’t damsels in distress in any way, and that’s pretty darn awesome.

I didn’t enjoy the terse first meeting between our leads all that much, and I do feel that Gu Qian Fan is quite high handed in the way he approaches Pan Er.

The silver lining is, when Gu Qian Fan questions Pan Er afterwards, at least I feel that I can understand why Gu Qian Fan had found Pan Er suspicious in the first place.

And then there’s how she has that other unfortunate run-in with Gu Qian Fan, when she goes to Yang Zhiyuan’s house to seek help, and the entire house is attacked, along with Gu Qian Fan’s men in it.

I get that Gu Qian Fan’s desperate, but the way he throws that dart into her shoulder, to threaten her into saving him, is not cool in my eyes.

I rationalize that probably he couldn’t take any chances of her refusing to save him, and that’s why he hurt her and told her the dart was poisoned, but still. It’s not cool, and doesn’t earn him any brownie points with me, even though he’s pretty badass with the fighting stuff.

I feel sorry for Pan Er, that she’s had a hard life after being assigned as a government slave due to the transgressions of her father.

It’s even worse now that she receives news that the man whom she’d believed she was going to marry, has now finally passed the Imperial Examination, but isn’t going to marry her as promised.

Considering that she’s supported him and helped him and believed in him for three years, this is understandably very upsetting news.

I do love Pan Er’s steely streak, though.

The way she decides that she must go to the capital to see Ouyang and talk to him personally, to make sure that they’re not being set up by schemers who’re trying to tear them apart for personal gain, is really ballsy.

I mean, she’s literally willing to die on the way, if it comes down to it. That boldness of hers, to own her decisions to the full, is very admirable, I must say.

By this point, it’s not surprising that Pan Er runs into Gu Qian Fan again, and ends up helping him stow away on a merchant ship, because he’s now a wanted man, thanks to the false accusations that that dirty official’s racked up against him.

I still don’t like Gu Qian Fan too much, since he’s still saying some not very nice things to Pan Er on the boat, even though she’s the one who rented the cabin area that they’re staying in.

The way he says that because she’d been a singing prostitute before (a person who sells their songs, not their body), no gentry would dare to marry her, aggravates me quite a lot.

It’s so gracious of Pan Er not to take it up with him, and even give him medicine. Plus, she even helps him remove the pus from his wound. This, when she herself is wounded too, and therefore rather weak.

I mean, he does faint from the pain of the procedure, but I honestly don’t think Pan Er inflicted extra pain on him, out of petty revenge.

The tone of their conversations, after this point, aren’t exactly cordial, since I do still hear some barbs in their remarks to each other, but for now, at least, it feels like some kind of uneasy truce.

In the meantime, I’m disgusted that San Niang’s husband tries to give their son away (probably in exchange for money), to a distant relative who needs an heir to the family business – without even telling San Niang about it.

I mean, it’s not unheard of for such things to happen, particularly during these times, but it’s still horrible.

I’m glad that San Niang gets wind of it and storms the temple where the ceremony is taking place, to get back her son.

But then.. why and how does San Niang end up floating motionless in the sea..? Did that awful husband of hers throw her in, perhaps..?

As we end off the episode, Gu Qian Fan makes a heroic leap into the water, making to save her, so he gets a brownie point for that, though he’s mostly still in the doghouse with me. 😒

Overall, I’d say that this was a pretty strong start to our story.

We’re still in set-up, so it’s understandable that we still don’t know some stuff, but Show is polished and engaging, and our actors are doing a good job of delivering their characters.

I’m reasonably hopeful that, given a little bit more time, I will end up loving this one as much as everyone else who’s currently raving about this show. 😁

*This show is being covered on the VVIP Early Access (US$20) Tier on Patreon*

To view episode 1 notes in Patreon, along with everyone’s comments, you can go here!

You can find my Patreon page here, where episodes 1 through 4 notes are already available. Just look for the tag “A Dream Of Splendor” or click here.

Episode 5-6 notes will be out on Wednesday, 6 July 2022! I hope you’ll consider joining us!

It’ll be a way to have fun, and support me at the same time? ❤️

PS: For more information on what the Patreon experience is like, you might like to check out my Patreon update post for July, which you can find here!

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1 year ago

Thank you for putting this up on the blog, I was sufficiently intrigued by your description of how the female lead is capable and fights off thugs and is generally gutsy and determined. Started watching it a few days ago and I already think this OTP may become a top favourite of mine! I actually enjoyed their mutually suspicious initial interactions. Qian Fan initially sniffing at how she was overrated as a renowned beauty In Jiangnan reminded me of how Mr Darcy initially turned down the chance to dance with Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, saying, “She is tolerable enough I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

Qian Fan is used to dealing with shady folks and interrogating prisoners but Pan Er is not intimidated by him and gives back as good as she gets. Firm and principled, pushing back on his insinuations that she is still in the pariah class.

On the poisoned dart incident, I was actually OK with him throwing a dart at her, they were strangers at that point, he was nearly about to pass out from poisoned gas and he had to grasp at possibly his only chance to escape a dangerous situation with more assassins on the way. Another example of her giving back as good as she gets is her biting him in retaliation after he digs the dart out of her shoulder lol, he didn’t expect that! I find it great how they earn each other’s respect through this adventure.

At the episode 7 to 10 mark it feels a bit bloated as the world expands to include more side characters and filler plot, but I am hopeful there will be more forward momentum soon! Episodes 11 and 12 are sufficiently intriguing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Elaine
1 year ago
Reply to  Elaine

I’m up to episode 24 Elaine and in my view show is going along nicely 😊

1 year ago

Fangurl – just throwing in my two cents to say that while I love all three of these awesome ladies, San Niang is my new hero. She is so capable!