Today, I thought I’d share my episode 1-4 notes on Lost You Forever [China], because I’m enjoying it a lot more than I’d imagined I would, and I was wondering if you’d like to join me? 🤗
These are my episode 1-4 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! ❤️
E1-4. Surprise, everyone! I honestly hadn’t expected that I would be watching this show, and yet, here I am, picking it for coverage here on Patreon.
The reason is primarily FOMO, because without this show getting as buzzy as it did, I probably wouldn’t have taken much notice of it.
Plus, I have historically not managed to enjoy Yang Zi very much as an actress, and she is headlining this one.
And that’s the thing; Show’s positive buzz was great enough, that I decided to overlook my general feelings towards Yang Zi as an actress, and take a peek – even though I don’t typically gravitate that much, towards Chinese fantasy.
Honestly, I was expecting to watch an episode or two, and then wander off, having satisfied my curiosity, as well as (in theory) having convinced myself that this show wasn’t for me.
I never expected that, 4 episodes in, I am genuinely interested in this one now – and I’m even enjoying Yang Zi in this. Woahhh, right?
Honestly, she is blowing it out of the water with this one, pretty much right away, and this is a Big Statement, coming from me, because like I said, before this show, I hadn’t really enjoyed Yang Zi in the various roles I’d seen her in.
But first, let me back up a bit, and talk about the story, which feels new and different – at least to my eyes.
For context, I haven’t actually watched all that many c-dramas, nor have I read any of the famous online novels, which have spawned many a drama adaptation, so I have no point of comparison.
I just find this interesting, from where I’m sitting.
I’m intrigued by the idea that in this drama world, humans, immortals (deities) and sprites all live together in one ecosystem. In other c-fantasies that I’ve watched, there’s always been a clear distinction between the mortal world and the world of the immortals.
I was less interested in episode 1 than in episodes 2 through 4, but that’s mainly because episode 1 is acted by child actors, and it’s only in episode 2, that our adult cast shows up.
I came into this already knowing that our female lead, Xiao Yao, played by Yang Zi, would have 3 potential suitors, and that each suitor has his own appeal, such that it’s really hard to decide who you actually want to root for.
I was definitely pretty curious to see how that would play out, since I usually seem to be naturally wired to root for the designated male lead.
The other thing that I found interesting, is that, at this point of the story, at least, our protagonist, Xiao Yao, who’s actually the princess of Haoling, is living as a man by the name of Xiao Liu, in Qingshui village, and running a clinic, to support herself and her found family of humans.
(And so, you’ll find that I’ll be using the names Xiao Yao and Xiao Liu interchangeably, in these notes.)
For a good stretch, I’d thought that Xiao Yao was in hiding, and trying to avoid being found, because she was in danger or something, but as it turns out, something’s happened, such that she’s not only lost her memory of who she is, she’s even seemed to have lost her appearance.
Meaning, yes, she looks like Yang Zi, of course, but somehow, people from her early life can’t seem to recognize her, and, put through a filter that sifts out those who’ve used magic to alter their appearance, she doesn’t show up as having messed with her appearance.
Quite intriguing. I’m sure there’s an explanation for that, which we’ll get to later on in our story.
For now, though, it’s quite trippy to see Yang Zi, whom I’ve only seen play dainty, ladylike types, act like a rough, uncouth man, all casual swagger and streetwise smirk.
I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw it for myself, but my goodness, she’s pulling it off very nicely. I really do believe that she’s been living like this for the past 20 years, and plans to continue living like this, for as long as possible.
Suitor #1 is her cousin, whom we see as young child in episode 1, who’s very bonded with her, and who, when forcibly separated from her, promises to find her again, no matter what.
I didn’t realize until I looked him up because I was so darn curious to know why he looked so familiar, but you guys, Suitor #1, also known as Cang Xuan, is played by none other than Zhang Wan Yi, who played Er Qiang in The Bond.
Er Qiangggg!! I had SUCH a soft spot for Er Qiang during my watch of The Bond, and now I’m stoked that I’ve got him on my screen again – only this time, with a mane of glory.
Show informs us that Cang Xuan had been sent away to be a hostage prince in his youth to Haoling, and now spends all his time at the side of Princess A Nian, who addresses him as brother, but who clearly has feelings for him.
[SPOILER FOR THE BOND]
Doesn’t this kinda-sorta remind you of Er Qiang’s arc, where he’d tried to be in a relationship with that girl, even though he didn’t like her?
I am rather amused at the irony, that Er Qiang seems to be reliving that kind of life, even as a deity. 😅
[END SPOILER FOR THE BOND]
I hadn’t realized this on my first watch, but it occurs to me that if Princess A Nian is from Haoling, and Xiao Yao was originally from Haoling, then perhaps they are sisters..?
It’s kind of poignant too, that Cang Xuan and Xiao Yao are actually now living in the same village, but they don’t know it.
Cang Xuan is obviously still searching for her, which is how we have that scene where the spirit of the Old Stone shows him all the beings in the village who’ve altered their appearances, and it’s so ironic that she’s right there, and he can’t see it.
And then Suitor #2 comes in the shape of Tushan Jing, a deity/immortal whom Xiao Liu rescues from death, after suffering from unexplained long-term torture, and now pledges himself to be her servant, and even asks her to give him a name, because he belongs to her now.
I have to say, I was totally gravitating towards him – now named Shiqi, by Xiao Liu – because he shows, over and over again, how completely he trusts her. I mean, when she casually tells him to drink poison, he drinks it without hesitation, because the instruction comes from her.
How does one not wobble in the face of such devotion, right?
And when she gets into danger from entering the territory of Chenrong army remnants, and is being tortured by Xiang Liu (aka Suitor #3), he flies in there without any hesitation, and uses his deity powers, to protect her.
Devoted AND powerful?
I felt like I was totally going to be rooting for him, at this point.
As for Xiang Liu, I’m not immediately drawn to him, not least because he’s known to be very cruel, and has already subjected our female lead to actual physical torture.
And this, even though he can tell that she’s a woman and not a man.
At this point, I guess I should also mention that Shiqi also can tell that Xiao Yao is a woman.
And so, out of the 3 suitors, only Cang Xuan, who’s known Xiao Yao from childhood, is not able to see that Xiao Yao is a woman. I find that quite ironic.
Xiang Liu is quite intrigued by Xiao Yao, and when he asks her why she would live like this, even though she will outlive the humans she’s surrounded herself with, I find her answer so full of pathos; that she wants to live surrounded by them, even if it’s temporary.
This gives me the sense that Xiao Yao’s been lonely for a long time, and that finding herself in Qingshui Town, and setting up a home there, with found family, has been a great comfort to her.
It’s no wonder that her condition to Xiang Liu, even on threat of death, for serving him as his person, is that she would never be called upon to leave Qingshui Town.
At the same time, though, Show’s doing a good job of making Xiao Yao a faceted character, instead of simply making her a long-suffering heroine who’s all good.
Instead, we see some of the darker streaks of her character, when Princess A Nian gets her maidservant to torture her found family, because Ma Zi’s wife accidentally spills pig’s blood on Princess A Nian’s clothes.
Remember how I said that Princess A Nian might possibly be Xiao Yao’s sister? Well, that thought adds a whole other level of poignancy to the goings-on, because Princess A Nian is snooty and casually cruel, obviously thinking of the villagers as petty disposable beings.
I mean, the only reason she says that she doesn’t kill Xiao Liu’s friends, is because Cang Xuan had told her not to kill.
And so instead, she toys with them, intending to take it almost the point of death. Ugh. She’s unlikable right away, for sure.
And so, when Xiao Liu poisons the maidservant as revenge, I can understand why she would do so.
She even tells Shiqi that she’s not a good person, and wants to kill them for what they’ve done – and would he help her? To which he agrees.
The thing is, though, Cang Xuan comes knocking, with Princess A Nian, and when Xiao Liu refuses to provide the antidote for the poison she’s administered, he takes it from her forcibly – which leaves her splayed on the floor, in a most undignified manner, because Shiqi’s not there to help her, like she’d expected.
First, that’s so sad, considering that Cang Xuan’s actually been searching for her, for many years. And here she is, in front of him, and he’s treating her like this, without knowing who she is.
Secondly, it’s also sad that Shiqi’s disappointed Xiao Yao so much, because he’s otherwise been extremely devoted and trustworthy.
Remember how I’d said that I’d been naturally gravitating towards rooting for Shiqi, for how he’s shown, time and again, that Xiao Yao can depend on him?
Well, I felt that waver, at this point, because it turns out that not only wasn’t he there, he’d evaded Princess A Nian on purpose, because she’s from a powerful deity family – because he’d been afraid she’d recognize him, and also because he felt it was safer for Xiao Liu not to provoke them.
Given how much emphasis we see Xiao Liu put on her relationships with others, it feels acutely disappointing, that the one person who had seemed to be unfailingly dependable, lets her down, just when she felt she needed him most.
It feels very poignant, to see Xiao Yao accept Xiang Liu’s invitation to ride his hawk with him, and then hear her muse that she’s always been alone, and shouldn’t need to rely on anyone.
And so, it feels like when everything else is whittled away, Xiao Yao feels very much alone and isolated, even though she’s surrounded herself with people whom she cares about.
That’s very poignant, and I’m curious to see how her connections with our various suitors might temper the way she views the world.
All in all, I’m finding this much more grabby than I’d first expected, and I’m actually looking forward to watching more episodes of this.
*This show is being covered on the Ultimate Early Access (US$25) Tier on Patreon*
To view episode 1-4 notes in Patreon, along with everyone’s comments, you can go here!
Episodes 17-20 notes will be out on Wednesday, 20 September 2023! 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 September, which you can find here!