Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! This shot of Guang Xi and Mu Cheng encapsulates where we are in their journey quite nicely, I thought, 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! 😉
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! ❤️
Well, talk about Dramatic with a capital D!
Show is bringin’ it, in the melodramatics, and I find that I really need to have a very particular retro-makjang lens, to roll with it. Perhaps something in the vein of k-classic Autumn In My Heart, which was angsty and full of melodramatic turns as well.
(Hmmm. Is that why this one’s also got “Autumn” in its title..? 🤔😅)
Yes, I do need to put aside the nitpicky side of my brain that wants to question the logic of certain proceedings, like how emotion-heavy and logic-lite Guang Xi’s closing statement is, in the Hearing.
But once I do that, I find that there’s a soapy, what-else-could-go-wrong sort of more-ish quality to the watch experience, that I find oddly transfixing.
Also, it helps to remember that this show is from 2009, when MELODRAMAAA was the order of the day, more often than not.
In terms of the Hearing, I’d half expected Aunt to show up in a dramatic entrance, with the photos that she’d found, but instead, it’s Tuo Ye who makes that dramatic entrance, with the CCTV footage of Uncle Cai attacking Mu Cheng.
Ah, yes, well, that’s more concrete evidence than those photos which are in Aunt’s possession, my bad. I’d somehow forgotten that Tuo Ye had been on a mission to get that footage.
Yay that Mu Cheng’s declared innocent, and muahaha, that Uncle Cai’s in trouble, now that this is going to be reported to the police and made into a criminal case.
It does give me some satisfaction to see Uncle Cai rush home to pack his things so that he can run away – only to find that Aunt’s already left, and apparently, with the money stash that he’d hidden in the drawer.
He swears up and down that this won’t be the last that they’ll see of him, so I do wonder if Show will bring Uncle Cai back into our story, and what trouble he’s going to bring with him, when the time comes.
I was rather taken aback by Tuo Ye’s sudden decision to drop out of school, but it all becomes clearer, once we’re told, later in the episode, that he’d actually only transferred to Shende University, to be near Mu Cheng.
Aw. Smitten, hearts-in-eyes Tuo Ye. I feel bad for misjudging him earlier. He’s turning out to be a much better egg than I’d originally given him credit for.
Now his rough and tough fighting ways make a lot more sense, and I’m rather sorry to see him go, because he’s right; he’s one of the few friends that Mu Cheng has.
That said, I do think it would be hard for him to stick around just to see Mu Cheng and Guang Xi getting lovey-dovey, so I can understand his decision to leave.
Speaking of Guang Xi, I had to roll my eyes at the way Director He takes issue with Guang Xi declaring that he likes Mu Cheng, and then is actually mollified, when Guang Xi’s mom says that Guang Xi was just being unscrupulous, in order to win the case.
That is messed up, that these two influential people would rather embrace the idea that Guang Xi had been manipulative and unscrupulous, than accept the fact that Guang Xi actually likes Mu Cheng for real.
And then, Director He, upon hearing from Guang Xi that he could totally date Yi Qian, but she wouldn’t be happy because he doesn’t like her, actually asks Guang Xi to date Yi Qian anyway. It’s weird.
But.. that really is just part of the territory when it comes to this show, I find. I just remember that I shouldn’t judge a retro show by my modern lens, and then try to shrug and move on.
Guang Xi finally gets a diagnosis of his condition, and – dang – the prognosis is poor.
Between a 15% success rate if he goes for the operation, and a death sentence if he doesn’t, Guang Xi really is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I can see why he would lose himself so dramatically, particularly in this particular drama world.
And, I can also see why he would avoid going to Mu Cheng as planned, and why he would avoid answering her calls. He just doesn’t know what to tell her, at this moment.
Given what we know of Guang Xi, I can believe that he would opt out of the operation, because I can see that he would rather die, than lose his memory, or become crippled, or blind.
I do wonder about his outburst to his mother, that the headaches had started when his father had died.
Is that medically possible, that you could develop a brain tumor from trauma and heartbreak..? I consulted Google and that is apparently not A Thing in real life. But then, this drama world isn’t real life, so I wouldn’t rule out Show actually going there..?
Of course, the other possibility is that the tumor had simply started making its presence felt, at the time of Dad’s death, and there’s no causal relationship.
Either way, Guang Xi is in a lot of pain, and that sucks. 😔
Given Show’s genre and vintage, I’m not at all surprised that the next thing we get, is a big boatload of noble idiocy, with Guang Xi pretending to be mean, in order to make Mu Cheng turn away from him.
I kind of get his logic, in that, if she doesn’t care about him, then she can’t be hurt, when he dies. But.. he doesn’t seem to realize that treating her like this, is hurting her anyway.
And Mu Cheng, being a classic Candy, takes it all in, and continues to look after Guang Xi with mournful eyes and a sincere heart, even after all the mean things that he says to her.
Even his party friends are surprised and try to compensate for his meanness, by asking after Mu Cheng.
I do find this surprising, in that these two friends have been not much more than token figures in the background, associated more with Guang Xi’s bets involving women than anything else.
Because of this, it is a bit startling to hear them express care and concern for Mu Cheng, all of a sudden. I’m just going to chalk this up to Mu Cheng’s very special brand of sincerity affecting everyone around her for the better.
On another note, I do appreciate that Guang Xi looks suitably tortured, in his efforts to alienate Mu Cheng.
It mollifies me, somewhat, to know that it is quite literally hurting him as much as it’s hurting Mu Cheng. Am I cruel for saying that..? 😅
Not gonna lie; it’s a bit jarring to see Guang Xi making out with random girls at the bar.
I think in the more whitewashed dramas that I cut my teeth on in the early 2010s, Dramaland went through a phase where it just wasn’t done, for a male lead or female lead to be seen kissing anyone else but their fated true love.
However, I have noticed that in early dramas like 2005’s My Name Is Kim Sam Soon, which is a similar vintage as this show, male lead Hyun Bin was shown making out quite majorly with second female lead Jung Ryeo Won.
All that to say, it’s likely meant for realism, and probably not meant to be a big deal, but might feel like a big deal, if our drama eyes are only used to seeing OTPs share kisses.
Guang Xi running around like a mad man looking for Mu Cheng because it’s about to rain does sound rather ludicrous on paper, but as it turns out, Mu Cheng had needed saving, because her ankle had gotten caught in some rope, among the fishing nets.
Suspension of disbelief is required in pretty large servings, since it’s unlikely that Guang Xi would have known exactly where to look for Mu Cheng, but this is the kind of dramatic thing that we need to roll with.
And, I can believe that in the emotion of the moment, after such a near-death experience, both Guang Xi and Mu Cheng would simply embrace each other, never mind the noble idiocy stuff that Guang Xi had been spouting not so long ago.
I’m also glad that Mu Cheng gets the truth out of Guang Xi eventually, that he’s about to die. Without this out in the open between them, their relationship is literally at an impasse.
Once it’s out in the open though, it’s like the floodgates have been opened, and tears and love can both flow freely between them. Yes, it’s a bit clichéd, but I’m lapping this up, y’all.
Our dejected, parched, love-starved Guang Xi looks so overwhelmed as Mu Cheng loves on him without restraint, despite his announcement that he can’t promise her forever, because he’s going to die.
This feels like unconditional acceptance, and I can see why it would move Guang Xi so.
It does seem rather rushed for this relationship to hop straight from an establishment of mutual love and acceptance, to consummation, but I rationalize that this is a life-and-death sort of situation, and it is true that sex can be very healing.
Also, I’m not about to complain about a shirtless Vanness Wu gracing my screen.
Rawr. He does look very, er, healthy, in these scenes. 😁
Even though Guang Xi’s declared that he won’t undergo the surgery, I can believe that he would choose to fight this battle, for Mu Cheng’s sake.
I appreciate that when President Mom shows up, Guang Xi is quick to demonstrate that Mu Cheng is very important to him, and is the key reason that he’s decided to pursue treatment for his brain tumor.
This does force President Mom to be halfway civil to Mu Cheng, even though that doesn’t stop her from offering to pay Mu Cheng for staying by Guang Xi’s side for the duration of his treatment, or remarking that Mu Cheng’s hands are dirty.
Ugh. Just imagine what Mom might have said, if Guang Xi hadn’t made a big show of exactly how important Mu Cheng is to him.
As expected, Mu Cheng turns down President Mom’s offer of payment, and states that she doesn’t agree with President Mom’s methods, but all she wants is to be by Guang Xi’s side and help him.
Well, I hope this uneasy truce is sturdy enough, so that while Guang Xi is in treatment at least, he won’t have to worry about Mom making things difficult for Mu Cheng.
How significant, that even though Mom tells Guang Xi that Director He is agreeable for Guang Xi to receive proton therapy via his medical center, Guang Xi resolutely declines.
Looks like Guang Xi (who looks quuiite fine, post-shower, thank you very much 😁) wants nothing to do with Director He if he can help it – even if it means opting for a higher-risk treatment.
On this point, I’m pretty sure that has everything to do with the likelihood that Director He would demand that Guang Xi date Yi Qian, in exchange. Right?
As it turns out, the reason that Guang Xi’s turning down the proton therapy is, just as I’d guessed, because he doesn’t want to owe Director He anything.
I admire the sentiment, but just wanted to pause here to say that I find Director He’s stance on this very strange.
I feel like most influential drama parents would object vehemently, to their daughter getting involved with someone with a poor prognosis, regardless of that person’s family background.
Director He not objecting to Yi Qian being involved with Guang Xi, even if his chances of survival are 30% at best, is landing kind of strange to me.
But, I guess it’s just what it is; Show needs Director He to be invested in Guang Xi’s survival, if only to provide a source of dramatic tension, for Guang Xi’s relationship with Mu Cheng.
This episode, it’s hard to see Guang Xi suffer so much pain through the various shots and tests that he needs to go through. Kudos to Vanness Wu for delivering those scenes so well.
I could really believe that Guang Xi was in extreme physical pain, while slowly feeling dispirited, helpless and scared, despite trying his best to be strong.
I personally found the shaving scene extra poignant, because that’s where Guang Xi breaks down and cries, while leaning on Mu Cheng, despite his efforts to be strong.
I’m relieved that Mu Cheng’s there with him, to support him and encourage him through everything, and I’m glad too, that President Mom appears to understand the sincerity and depth of Guang Xi’s and Mu Cheng’s feelings for each other, as she watches over them.
I thought the encounter with the other brain tumor patient was weirdly written and executed, but I get the idea that this was to give Guang Xi a sense of solidarity and hope, in seeing that the other patient was almost done with his treatment, and making plans for his marriage.
At the same time, later, when that patient dies, and Mu Cheng meets the patient’s girlfriend, Hui Ci, this works to drive home, for Mu Cheng, just how precarious Guang Xi’s situation is, and how badly he could use that other 15% chance that the proton therapy would give him.
Also, I might totally be jumping the gun here, but Mu Cheng going for that medical check-up, and saying that she’s been feeling extra tired of late, is pinging my drama senses to scream, “She must be pregnannnnt!”
Which would totally complicate matters, since by the end of the episode, President Mom is basically setting things up, so that Mu Cheng will be by Guang Xi’s side, only to the point where he enters the operation theater.
Thereafter, as I understand it, Mu Cheng is expected to step aside, to allow Yi Qian a chance to be with Guang Xi, as a token of gratitude for what Yi Qian’s doing to help save Guang Xi.
If my retro drama senses are right, this would mean that Mu Cheng’s not only pregnant, but she’s going to keep that pregnancy a secret, and then raise the baby on her own, because she’s been forcibly separated from Guang Xi. 😅
On another note, I know it’s hateful of President Mom to even ask this of Mu Cheng, but y’know, when I remind myself that her son’s life is at stake, I can understand why she would grasp at straws, to improve her son’s chances of survival.
Of course it makes no medical sense, that Guang Xi’s kept in the dark about the kind of treatment he will be receiving after undergoing anesthesia, but since this is Melodrama with a capital M, I suppose anything goes.
And so it is, that when Mu Cheng suggests that Guang Xi take a day off from being a patient so that they can go on a date, there’s so much finality in that request.
There’s the thing where she’s supposed to leave Guang Xi after he enters the operation theater, but also, there’s the thing where he could die anyway, regardless of the procedure that is administered.
There is a lot of emotion coursing through this scene, where Guang Xi and Mu Cheng embrace after agreeing to go out on a date, and I have to admit, I do feel suitably invested.