Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! We’re kinda in an angsty stretch in our story, so this shot of Xiao Le really is one of the few bright spots, this set of episodes. Which is why it’s 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! ❤️
We are nearing the end, my friends (just 2 more weeks to go!), and I suppose, along with that, Show is starting to clear our second leads out of the way, so that the runway is clear for our main loveline to take centerstage, without our second leads to complicate things.
I’m supposing that this why we get this conversation between Yi Qian and Director Dad, where Director Dad gets all uncharacteristically sentimental.
Like I said last episode, I’m just not used to seeing him in this space, but y’know, I suppose it’s entirely possible that he’s always had this soft spot for Yi Qian, even as he showed the rest of the world his dour scheming face.
And, it’s probably entirely possible that he loves Yi Qian so much, that he would bring forward his retirement plans, so that he could tell her that he’d take her away to start over in the US, if that’s what she wants.
Narratively, though, it does lean rather convenient, but hey, whatever works, right?
Similarly, Auntie Hua telling Mu Cheng to wake up to the fact that she still loves Guang Xi also feels pretty convenient, because I would’ve expected Auntie Hue to be too concerned about her son being detained, to be Mu Cheng’s source of perspective and guidance.
I do appreciate the scene of Yi Qian seeking out Guang Xi at his office, because that does feel needful.
It’s way better that they have this conversation, and gain a better sense of closure, rather than leave things hanging, from when Guang Xi called off the wedding.
I do think it works out to be a fruitful conversation, with them hearing things from each other, that feel important.
Guang Xi gets to hear from Yi Qian, that his marriage revenge scheme is ridiculous and all wrong, which I do think he needs to hear, and he doesn’t seem that closed off from hearing it from Yi Qian.
And, Yi Qian gets to hear from Guang Xi, that he had sincerely loved her, in the 6 years that they’d spent together.
I do think that’s important for Yi Qian to hear, because, even though she wasn’t entirely upfront with him during their relationship, she was sincere in loving and caring for him. It must be some kind of consolation to know that during that time, he had loved her too.
I’m not sure I follow why Xiao Le says he already knew that Guang Xi’s his father, but I’m just glad that it’s not some kind of huge shock for him. I guess Show just needed Xiao Le to be a stabilizing force for Mu Cheng, since she’s all out of sorts over the situation.
Which, fine, I guess it works? Basically, if Xiao Le’s ok, I’m cool with it.
I must say, even though I’d been into the concept of Guang Xi and Mu Cheng embarking on a contract marriage and falling for each other all over again in the process, what we get.. isn’t quite what I’d imagined.
For one thing, Guang Xi’s being purposely cutting and cruel in his words to Mu Cheng, and while I rationalize that he’s lashing out at her for leaving him in his moment of need, it’s no fun to watch, for sure.
For another thing, while most contract marriages entail that the couple falls in love despite their business-only arrangement, as I watch Guang Xi and Mu Cheng, it becomes pretty clear, that they still love each other, but just aren’t admitting it.
So, rather than falling in love with each other, their main mission, if they would just get around to it, is being honest with each other.
Putting that all together, this contract marriage therefore doesn’t have the same elements that I tend to enjoy in a contract marriage. But.. at least that keeps the watch experience kinda fresh?
I can’t say that Guang Xi is very likable right now, like when he talks to Mu Cheng in a cutting manner about Tuo Ye being her lover, while they’re in the middle of getting their marriage registered.
Also, I’m guessing that Show might be trying to amp up the romantic tension between Guang Xi and Mu Cheng, with the forced skinship? I’m not sure, really, because it’s certainly not fun to watch.
Plus, Guang Xi looks annoyed, and Mu Cheng looks distressed and perplexed, so it’s not like anyone’s having a good time here, with the forced skinship.
I suppose this is Show’s way of making Guang Xi lash out, and back in 2009, this was more acceptable fodder for TV, compared to now? I’ve decided that you really need your retro drama lens for this angle of things, in particular.
The thing that was hardest to watch, this episode, was Mu Cheng breaking the news to Tuo Ye, that she’s married Guang Xi.
Poor Tuo Ye. I can see why he’s so blindsided and upset.
After all, he’d so recently proposed to Mu Cheng, and she’d said yes. And now, that’s completely turned on its head, and she’s married someone else, when he wasn’t looking. Like, literally.
It’s completely understandable that Tuo Ye’s as upset as he is. My heart does go out to him, because he looks genuinely crushed.
And, I don’t think that it’s true that Mu Cheng never trusted him; it’s that she really only ever saw him as a friend, and unfortunately, that’s not what Tuo Ye wants, ultimately.
It might be tough to see Tuo Ye walk away from Mu Cheng like this, saying that he doesn’t think he can be her friend anymore, but I do think that that’s probably best for Tuo Ye, at least for a while.
He needs time to grieve and heal and get himself back together again, and I think that some distance between him and Mu Cheng, would be more helpful than not.
Well. If we’d thought that Guang Xi’s behavior towards Mu Cheng was uncomfortable to watch last episode, Show levels up the challenge this episode, by making his actions even more uncomfortable to watch.
To which I can only say, retro drama lensss. 😅 I do think it’s the only way we’re going to get through this, you guys. I think it’s relatively common to come across questionable behavior in lovelines, when checking out older dramas or movies, so we’ll just have to roll with it.
This episode, we see Mu Cheng and Xiao Le settling into their new home – which is basically Guang Xi’s family home (ie, he didn’t buy a new house for the three of them to live in; he’s just brought Mu Cheng and Xiao Le to live in the family home).
Which means that it’s a pretty big deal, for President Mom to make a stand against Guang Xi’s marriage by moving out, because, this is her home, after all.
I’m not surprised that President Mom isn’t happy about the marriage, but it still pains me to see her brush off Xiao Le like he’s some kind of disgusting insect. He’s so not! He’s a sweet little soul, and doesn’t deserve to be treated like that by his own grandmother.
Thankfully, Xiao Le doesn’t appear too fazed about this, but I have to admit, this does make me feel extra protective over Xiao Le.
I know I’d said that if anyone could melt her heart, it’d be Xiao Le. But.. maybe it’s not such a good idea for him to spend time with President Mom after all?
Although Lawyer Lin does try to say a few words in Xiao Le’s favor, it looks like it’s going to take more than a little pep talk for President Mom to change her mind.
I mean, even right now, she’s still insisting that she would do it all again – all meaning, building Guang Xi a new life using fake memories – given the chance. Mom’s pretty delusional, I think.
But, putting that all aside, the most dissonant beat, this episode, is the one where Guang Xi comes home, and, (a) looks at Mu Cheng and Xiao Le with a softness in his gaze and smile about his lips, then (b) tries to force himself on Mu Cheng, saying that she needs to be a good wife.
Umm. This was disturbing and hard to watch, though that didn’t stop my brain from clocking that Guang Xi still looks great in a towel, six years later. 😅
I get that Show’s trying to tell us that Guang Xi’s been sentimental for his past with Mu Cheng, like in the detail that he’s kept the suit that he wore when he’d defended Mu Cheng at the truth hearing.
But that still doesn’t take away the troubling wrongness of him trying to force himself on Mu Cheng.
Again, we’re going to need to tap into the retro drama lens, because I’m guessing that the writers didn’t think it was that terrible a thing at the time, in that, I don’t think it was widely thought that marital rape was a thing, back then.
Meaning, my guess is that most people working on the show – and watching the show – probably accepted that since Guang Xi and Mu Cheng are married, it’s not shocking or illegal, for this to happen.
Or at least, it probably raised fewer eyebrows then, than it’s likely raising now, among us. 😅
I’m just relieved that Guang Xi doesn’t actually go through with it, because that would have been even more difficult to reconcile.
In the meantime, I’m sorry to see that Chi Xin’s landed herself in trouble with Brother Fang, whom Tuo Ye had screwed over previously, and who’s now taking it out on her, by beating her up. Gah. That sucks.
I hope Show rescues Chi Xin soon, from Brother Fang’s clutches, coz nobody should have to live like that.
Back at home, President Mom’s getting on Guang Xi’s back for allowing his reputation to take a hit from the scandal of the plaintiff in Mr. Lee’s case attempting suicide.
Mom says that she will do everything that she can to minimize the damage to Guang Xi’s reputation, but Guang Xi’s not being very amenable about it.
Guang Xi has a point though, when he retorts that President Mom’s never been interested in the truth, is selfish, and always wants to solve things in her own way.
That’s pretty spot-on, really, from where I’m sitting.
This episode, it feels like things are moving into place, so that we are on the cusp of a turnaround in the state of our OTP loveline.
We’re not there yet, but it feels like we’re almost there, which is great, since we’re moving into the final stretch, and I’d like the final stretch to have as many happy moments as possible, than sad or angsty ones.
Which means, the sooner our OTP loveline turns the corner, the better, right?
And the main catalyst that seems to be pushing towards a genuine OTP reconciliation, is the fact that Guang Xi’s being vilified by the world at large for his role in Mr. Lee’s case.
With everyone standing against him, Mu Cheng’s actually stepping up to defend him and understand him, and I have a feeling that that’s going to break down Guang Xi’s wall of prickly defenses, eventually.
Mu Cheng may be frustrating in many ways, but the way she persists in speaking gently to Guang Xi, even when he tells her that it’s none of her business and (I paraphrase) she should butt out, is really loving, I’d say.
I mean, it’s pretty heady stuff, isn’t it, when the world at large thinks the worst of you, but one person steadfastly continues to believe in your inherent goodness and decency?
Guang Xi may not show it, but I do think that Mu Cheng’s belief in him, is eroding his anger towards her.
And, thanks to Lawyer Lin’s tip to Mu Cheng about looking around his study, it seems that Mu Cheng’s belief in Guang Xi is strengthened even further.
The story of how Guang Xi had clawed his way back to top form, after his brain surgery had left him mentally and physically compromised is a bit of stretch, but I find it poignant anyway, to think of Guang Xi fighting so hard, to reclaim the bits of himself that he’d perceived, in the memory fragments that he had.
Through all of this, I feel bad for Xiao Le, who’s having to hear all these unpleasant comments about his dad at school, and trying to deal with it himself, so that he can spare his parents the heartache of hearing about it.
He is such a sweet soul, seriously.
I’m glad that he decides to call Tuo Ye to talk about it, because goodness knows, Tuo Ye needed to hear his little voice, just as much as Xiao Le needed him.
It feels so important and so needful, when Xiao Le tells Tuo Ye that he misses him a lot. At least Tuo Ye has the assurance that he has a legit spot in Xiao Le’s life and heart, even though he has a dad now.
And, Tuo Ye gathers himself together just in time too, because now we need him to rescue Chi Xin from Brother Fang’s clutches.
I don’t like the sound of what Brother Fang’s saying, that Chi Xin’s dependent on him for drugs.
Danggg. Chi Xin will have so much to recover from, if that’s true. Regardless, I just need Tuo Ye to rescue her, so that she will at least have a chance to recover, rather than be at Brother Fang’s mercy indefinitely.
Personally, I don’t feel that Mu Cheng’s visit to Mr. Lee’s victim goes very well, in that my instinct says that she likely breaks a lot of counseling rules in how she approaches the conversation, and also, she ends up agitating the patient quite a bit, by the end.
I think Show’s just trying to emphasize Mu Cheng’s heartfelt, empathetic nature to us, so I’m just closing one eye, and rolling with it, while taking everything with a generous chunk of salt. 😅
It occurs to me, though, that even though we all seem to have pretty high expectations of Mu Cheng, she’s really only, what, 24 years old, at this point in our story?
And, she hasn’t had any proper support for most of her growing up years, and therefore, she really only has her intrinsic good nature to guide her, since the adults in her life have either died early, or been terrible role models.
So, I suppose we shouldn’t hold her up to such high ideals, just because she’s the designated “good, long-suffering” character in our story. 😅
Elsewhere, it looks like Xiao Le is poised to worm his way into President Mom’s heart, despite her determination that that will not happen.
That moment in the park, where she hands him his handkerchief to wipe away his tears, feels like the possible start of President Mom softening towards Xiao Le, yes?
I hope so, because that would be an important step in the right direction, and we do need this train to go in the right direction, because we’ve only got 7 episodes left!