Early Access: My Journey To You [China] Episodes 1-3

Hi everyone!

I hope you enjoyed my episode 1-4 notes on Lost You Forever [China].

Today, I thought I’d share my episode 1-3 notes on My Journey To You [China] because I’m loving this one so very much (along with lots of the folks on Patreon), and I was wondering if you’d like to join me us? 🤗

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! ❤️

Episode notes:

Administrative point: I will be covering 3 episodes per set of notes, because the episodes are longer than the 45 minutes typical of c-dramas. Also, because Show released 3 episodes to start, I feel like this could be an indication of how best to consume this one. 😁

E1-3. You guys. I am loving this show. 🤩

Remember how I’d said, when I started watching Moving, that I knew, within Show’s first 5 minutes, that I liked it a lot? Same thing here.

I knew, within minutes, that I really, really liked this one, and I had no regrets putting aside Who Rules The World, in favor of this show, even though I’d already watched the first 4 episodes of Who Rules The World, AND written up the notes to go with.

This one just grabs me right away, and, three episodes in, it hasn’t let go yet. I am still very much interested and invested, and I’m chomping at the bit, to watch more episodes of this. *cue grabby hands* 🤗

In rough concept, this kinda reminds me of that little mini c-drama Kill You Love You, whose trailer I shared with you guys, where the female lead is an assassin who falls in love with her target, except, where Kill You Love You is low-rent and on the logic-lite, who-cares side of things, this drama is all gorgeous seriousness.

Everything is so beautiful and stylish to look at, I feel.

Echoing what Rita’s mentioned in the Spoiler-free zone, the cinematography is very polished and intentional, the sets and landscapes have a really nice sense of scale, the costumes are rich, detailed and textured (no flimsy cheap fabric here), and the writing feels detailed and tight.

One of the first things that’s captured my attention, in terms of the cinematography, is how stylish yet intentional the fight scenes are. There is a sense of flair about it, for sure, but there’s also a sense of restraint, like our director and fight choreographer know exactly what to play up, without playing it up too much.

Because I’ve checked out the first 4 episodes of Who Rules The World, I appreciate this acutely. The fight scenes in Who Rules The World is chock-full of flair, to the point of excess, where I feel like it’s all just overly flashy, and I start to zone out a little bit, while the action’s going on.

That is not at all the case here. Everything is stylish with intent, and, the fight choreography, used in combination with selective slo-mo, is gorgeous on the eyes. 😍 I love it, and it’s really turning out to be one of the highlights of my watch (among many other highlights, which I’ll talk about next).

For one thing, I am loving Esther Yu in this role.

I’d thought she was adorable in Love Between Fairy and Devil, and I am loving her in this too – but she is not playing adorable here.

Here, she’s a serious, focused assassin, and I love how she’s coming across as serious and fearless, yet with definite shades of vulnerability.

She strikes me as being stuck in a system, with no way out but forward. I didn’t think about this while watching, but afterwards (see? This show makes me think about it even after I’ve finished the episodes), I wonder why she’s even an assassin in the first place.

Like, what had happened to her, and what about her family? Why does it look like she has nobody else in the world, except the Wufeng assassin sect?

And then there’s her mentor/groomer, whose name is Han Yasi, and who, in the terminology of the Wufeng sect, is referred to as her Raven.

His sad eyes tell me that he’s got a big soft spot for her, but his hardened jaw tells me that he feels obligated to do as the Wufeng powers that be instruct – even if it means throwing his charge under the bus as a sacrificial lamb.

And, it’s only belatedly that I realize I don’t even know our female lead’s name; all I know is that she’s using the name Yun Weishan, to enter the Gong household, in order to complete her mission.

I found it quite mesmerizing, to watch the detailed training that Ya Si puts her through, in order to prepare her for her role as a potential bride to the Gong family.

It’s thorough to the nth detail, even covering her gait and posture, and I’m impressed at the extent of the preparation that they go to, to make this guise believable.

And then there’s male lead Gong Ziyu, who’s the younger son of the Gong family.

I hadn’t realized, until I looked him up, that this is the same actor who’d played Chang Heng, in Love Between Fairy and Devil.

I am quite amused at the fact that this is a reunion between him and Esther Yu, and that this time, he’s much more likely to get his girl – except we don’t really know that, because who knows what will happen, in this story?

I have to say that I find Zhang Ling He much more interesting as Ziyu, than as Chang Heng.

I find Ziyu tenderhearted yet full of hidden angst; upright and compassionate, yet also full of feelings of rejection and inadequacy.

I’d imagined at first, that the bride selection was for his benefit, but no, it was for his elder brother, the heir apparent to the Gong sect.

But, before I could even wonder too much about how this would affect the OTP arc, where she’s trying to marry his older brother, I was thrown for a loop, by how Wufeng is shown to set her up as a convenient sacrifice.

I mean, to go to so much trouble, to alert the Gong family, that there is an assassin among the bride candidates, so that she would be uprooted, so that the more senior assassin planted among the brides, would be free of suspicion?

Dang. That’s another level of casual cruelty. 🤯

Like, she’s their own assassin, painstakingly trained and equipped, and they’re ready to dispose of her like yesterday’s trash, in order to gain an added layer of security for the person whom they’ve really earmarked, for the mission. Yikes.

If I were her, I’d want out of this organization too. And that’s the prize that Yasi dangles before her, for accomplishing her mission.

I get the impression that when Yasi told her about the mission, he hadn’t known about the fact that she was being sent in as a decoy, but I do wonder if the person who’d okayed the promise of freedom, knew about it, and thus okayed it, because death would be a kind of freedom, for her?

In the end, it’s really only because the other assassin’s Raven, Yaqi, plants another assassin as a backup for his charge, Shangguan Qian, that Weishan ends up being spared.

Big phew, but also, dang, the way Yaqi uses emotional manipulation to get Zheng Nanyi to believe that he likes her, before he asks her to help him protect “someone,” is so devious and cruel.

I feel bad for her, because she looked like she really did like him, and in the end, she died a cruel death, doing exactly what he’d asked her to do.

Things aren’t all serious and dire, though, in our drama world.

There’s some levity injected, and I have mixed feelings about it so far.

Mainly, I find it really quite weird, that Ziyu’s elder sister is made out to be so flamboyantly lusty and flirtatious, such that she’s always ogling the fit young men training, and then we even see her get all dressed up in that exotic outfit, to go to the seedier part of town.

I’m wondering if there’s any other point to this, other than to make her comic relief.

I do think that that’s the only thing I don’t really like so much, in this show.

That said, there’s also some bits of levity in the interactions between Ziyu and his personal guard, Jin Fan.

I do low-key enjoy their bickering and banter, because there is clearly affection between them, even though Jin Fan’s always complaining that he has to look after Ziyu and make sure he doesn’t get in trouble.

Beyond the happy-go-lucky persona that he puts on, I’m drawn to the thoughtful, tenderhearted sort of personality that we see from Ziyu, in his moments alone.

And then, everything changes, when his father and brother are suddenly killed, and he gets made Sword Wielder (the actual phrase is “执刃” which translates as “hold the blade,” ie, this is the position of the one who is in charge of all matters of the Gong sect).

Honestly, the death of Ziyu’s father and brother took me by surprise; I totally didn’t see it coming.

In fact, older brother Huanyu had come across as so perfect and helpful, that I’d wondered whether this was all a cover, to hide a possibly more nefarious true nature.

That proved to be completely untrue, and the other reason that characters are presented as quite perfect – because they’re going to die – proved true instead. 😅

I really sat up and took notice of the completely different vibe Ziyu gives us, from the moment that he realizes that his father and brother have died, leaving him to be the Sword Wielder, which is a position that he’d never felt worthy of, nor ever coveted for himself.

Gone is the more carefree younger brother persona, and in its place is a pained, burdened, troubled mien. It honestly felt like I was looking at a different person, almost.

I thought that was really well done, by Zhang Ling He.

Additionally, there’s just something about his features, that adds a very interesting, very sensuous sort of layer, to his character. I like this effect a lot, so far; it makes him come across completely different than Huanyu, who had seemed more like a stern, unbending sort of character.

My gut tells me that Ziyu’s going to be a very different Sword Wielder than his brother would’ve been, and I’m really quite curious to see how that pans out.

Additionally, I’m very much invested in the interactions that he and Weishan have had, so far.

There’s just so much going on, there.

Up until Ziyu is made Sword Wielder, there are already a number of occasions when the two of them have opportunity to interact, and I can’t help wondering how much of it was a calculated move on Weishan’s part, and how much of it was just a natural unfolding of events.

Like that moment when she turns to run a different way than the others, when Ziyu goes to free all the brides-in-waiting from the holding cells.

If Ziyu had been the groom in question, I would have definitely concluded that Weishan deliberately turned in a different direction, in order to get his attention. But since he wasn’t the groom in question, I’m not sure what to think.

The end result of that interaction, however, is that he definitely notices her. Plus, he lends her his precious personal mask, in order to shield her from being noticed by the guards, which naturally leads to another opportunity for them to interact, when he goes to her room, to get the mask back, later on.

I suppose whatever isn’t part of Weishan’s calculation, I should put down to Fate, because it’s pretty clear that Weishan and Ziyu are our OTP.

And then of course, there’s Shangjue, who’s widely regarded as being the rightful Sword Wielder, because he’s the most capable of his generation, in the Gong family. Even Ziyu’s father says so, in episode 2.

I’m curious as to what decision Ziyu’s father had made, which had deprived Shangjue of the possibility of becoming heir to the Sword Wielder position?

Also, I’m curious as to how Shangjue’s going to react, now that he has to submit himself to Ziyu, as the newly appointed Sword Wielder.

Shangjue appears unbendingly loyal to the Gong name, and refuses each time someone mentions that he should’ve been the Sword Wielder, but I can’t help wondering how much of that is true, and how much of that is perhaps a front?

Aside from the OTP connection, I’m also finding the connection between Weishan and Shangguan Qian very interesting.

As fellow assassins, they are technically on the same side – but also, not.

Right now, they aren’t friends but neither are they enemies, and it’s proving to be a tricky thing for each of them, to decide whether to trust the other person.

Although Qian is the more senior assassin, being a Mei, even Qian has to admit that Weishan is very clever – much smarter than she’d expected her to be.

I do very much enjoy watching Weishan do her thing, because, to my eyes anyway, her actions can sometimes land as quite unexpected – and it’s only after the fact, that I realize that her choices had been much more shrewd than I’d imagined.

She does make mistakes, of course, like how she’d tapped the poison from her nail paint into the tea meant for Miss Jiang, when Qian had already created a bulletproof plan to make Miss Jiang go mad, without leaving any traces behind.

But, she’s also quick to figure out solutions, like how, when she hides in Qian’s room in her black assassin garb, she strips down before hiding under the blanket, so that the guards, when checking her, would be quick to back off, seeing that she’s unclothed.

As we close out episode 3, I’m very much intrigued by Weishan’s actions, because she’s clearly now made Ziyu her new target, since he’s the new Sword Wielder, and the way she gains his sympathy and attention is so effective.

When he reads the letters that she’s placed in the river lanterns, that are supposedly meant for her father, he can’t help but feel sorry for her, because of the sentiments that she’s expressed in the letter.

The feelings of disappointing her parents, and being rejected; of not being the kind of child that her father had desired; these are exactly the kind of feelings that Ziyu’s very familiar with as well.

Very shrewd and very smartly played, I must say. I can already imagine Ziyu’s heart going out to her.

Plus, Huanyu had already noticed that Ziyu seemed to have an interest in Weishan, so I can totally see Ziyu choosing Weishan to be his bride, especially since Weishan apologizes in her letter, that she wasn’t chosen by the Sword Wielder.

I am so, so invested in this burgeoning connection between Ziyu and Weishan.

On the one hand, they are enemies, because she’s an assassin sent to kill him (I think?), and she’s manipulating her way into his good graces. Once he finds out, that’s going to complicate their relationship for sure.

On the other hand, though, I can totally see these two people, who both have sadness shining out of their eyes, coming to find solace, solidarity and comfort with each other.

The complications and angst are going to be quite delicious, aren’t they, as all of these things mesh together into one OTP relationship?

Augh. This is all proving to be very tantalizing, and I am so ready, for more. Chomp. 😋

*This show is being covered on the Early Access Plus (US$10) Tier on Patreon*

To view episode 1-3 notes in Patreon, along with everyone’s comments, you can go here!

You can find my Patreon page here, where episodes 1 through 6 notes are already available. Just look for the tag “My Journey To You” or click here.

Episodes 7-9 notes will be out on Friday, 22 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!

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12 days ago

I really loved the first few eps, like the first 7 or 8 eps because it felt fast paced and suspenseful. I’ve since kinda dropped it at ep 13 though, bc the pace slows down quite a bit, and without the mystery actively driving you forward, the flaws feel like they show through a lot more.

It’s biggest flaw for me was that it didn’t feel properly motivated, like it was taking itself extremely seriously with built up angst and duty and responsibility. But in reality it’s so removed from context that it’s hard to feel like the gravitas isn’t contrived. We hear about how evil WuFeng is and how GongMen is the last bastion against evil. And there’s something dangerous and destructive they’re guarding. But like…. it doesn’t seem to matter. Bc there’s no people outside of WuFeng and GongMen. Who are we protecting, where’s the suffering, why does anything matter. Like you strip away the “I’m doing this to save the world” mentality and what’s left is like, “palace intrigue” but without the implicit historical background and weight classic palace intrigue gives (just based on chinese historical context). They don’t give proper weight to little plots and deaths happening.

I do see the appeal and it really caught my attention over everything else when it first started, but I just feel like it’s so contextually removed that I had a hard time staying onboard even after I boarded the ship. Like it doesn’t have to have real historical context, but even a completely fictional world should have enough world building to show me how bad the commoners have it and why we’re fighting right?

7 days ago
Reply to  Julianne

Hi Julianne! I think for me it helps to think of the show as a tale of the deadly feud between two families i.e. Gong vs Wufeng. Show is more interested in showing the personal cost (deaths in Gong family, the stolen childhoods and lives of Yun Weishan and other Wufeng agents) to illustrate who is clearly evil vs good, and yes while it’s true we don’t see as much of the commoners or wider jianghu martial arts world, that was ok for me cos I was moved enough by the personal stories of each member of the Gong family, as well as the murky situation of Yun Weishan and Shangguan Qian to see what choices they would make.

13 days ago

I just finished My Journey to You last weekend and I really, really liked it (up to a point) and mostly for the same reasons as you stated. There were also several twists I didn’t see coming at all, which I loved as dramas seldom manage to surprise me (in a good way) these days. 😀

But then… the last 10 minutes or so of the final epi happened and ruined it for me. I HATED how it ended! It was such a cheap, gimmicky “postscript” pandering for a 2nd season, which might never even get done. Second seasons in cdrama-land are not guaranteed. I might be in a minority but for me the drama already has a proper ending (at 42:30) and a conclusion to the story, there’s no need for a 2nd season. On the other hand, if this was how the drama was actually supposed to end… well, that’s even worse. Bah, I’m still mighty miffed when I think about it. 😒

1 day ago
Reply to  Timescout

Timescout – you are not alone…

13 days ago

I just LOVE this show, as I think that all friends on Patreon must have guessed already. And I loved it right from the start – for me, the only drawback in those first episodes are Zhang Ling He’s vampiric make-up, but it does get better as the show progresses.
The show builds an enchanting world and the characters are all attractive – not just physically (although that is evident!) but also as characters. There are the good ones, and the bad ones, and the smug ones, and the creepy ones, but noone is boring.
Seriously, if you are reading this now and haven’t started watching, please do. And if you want, our group watch over on Patreon is so much fun!

13 days ago

Fangurl – I do hope a lot of drama watchers catch this as it is something else. A real cut above the standard. So many magnificent things in this. It must be watched.