WELL. THAT WAS DISAPPOINTING.
Ok. I take back many of the things that I’ve said before. I said that I was disappointed that they cut out four episodes, making the total amount of episodes 40, instead of 44. I just wanted better editing and a better explanation of the plot.
But I guess the screen writer for this drama was very poorly planned because so many plot points were skipped over before, and the editing was so bad – I mean I thought they were rushing so they could fit all the content into 40 episodes. Episode 39 and 40 are nearly all flashbacks. I think maybe they rushed too much and had nothing to fill in last two episodes.
Either that, or they tried to appeal to our emotions too much, by reminding us of what happened, but how about add some more meaningful dialogue rather than a flashback? I’ve seen certain scenes at least like three times now because they keep flashing back.
To prove my point, I’m going to make a flashback counter to total the amount of minutes of flashbacks there are.
Tang Hai gets avenges Xiao Lan by killing the Japanese woman. He dies himself too, because he was so badly wounded in the fight.
1:45 – 6:10: Flashbacks of Tang Hai and Shi Hao, and their experiences together, meaning to get you to realize how sad it is that Tang Hai is dead, except that the character development for Tang Hai is so bad that you probably don’t even care,
4.5 MINUTES OF FLASHBACKS (YES, FOUR MINUTES AND THIRTY SECONDS FML).
Xiang Han Chuan is fading from the opium poisoning from saving Ming Zhu.
They have such a touching dialogue. Xiang Han Chuan tells her that Ming Zhu’s the best thing that ever happened to him. He reveals that he’s always been jealous how much she’s loved Ying Dong, and how he’s always pretended not to notice because he loves her so much. Now that he’s dying, he finally feels the same type of love – but it’s so unfortunate that it’s only for a short period of time. He tells her how much he loves her, and for her to take care of herself.
I’m so sad that him and Ming Zhu can’t have a happily ever after.
Next, Xiang Han Chuan talks to Ying Dong. Han Chuan tells Ying Dong that he’s always tried to be the perfect brother, and be the perfect ‘father’ to him, because their parents died so early. He’s always tried so hard to be Mr. Xiang for everyone. For once, he could let go of that burden, to do something selfish that he wanted: To sacrifice his life to save the woman that he loves.
At the end of it he says, “Now you’re the new Mr. Xiang of Shanghai. Goodluck, Mr. Xiang”.
They hug, and Xiang Han Chuan goes limp.
Ying Dong realizes Han Chuan had passed away, and starts screaming in agony.
Ming Zhu hears the screaming and crying, realizing what had happened, collapses outside the door. I got chills when I watched this scene… It was so sad.
The sadness was slightly ruined by Ying Dong getting uncomfortably intimate with his brother’s neck, rubbing his face against his neck, and actually kissing his neck once at one point. I bet it was so uncomfortable for the actor playing Xiang Han Chuan.
Ying Dong and Ming Zhu go to Xiang Han Chuan’s grave to mourn over his death.
21:30 – 29:10 Both Ying Dong and Ming Zhu have flashbacks with their experiences with Xiang Han Chuan. Yes. Seriously?
TOTAL: 7 MINUTES AND FORTY SECONDS.
Also can she be a little more consistent in wearing her circle lenses? She has them on for this mourning scene, but she has them off for the other scenes for these two episodes. It’s so distracting.
29:30 – 33:10 FLASHBACK TO TANGHAI AND HOW ‘GREAT’ HE IS.
HE’S NOT OK? HE WAS REALLY NOT THAT GREAT IN THE DRAMA FOR SO MANY CONSECUTIVE FLASHBACKS.
TOTAL: 3 MINUTES AND FORTY SECONDS
Oh great, finally a scene, new content! Nope, they’re still talking about Tang Hai and Xiang Han Chuan’s death, and pretty much summarizing the flashbacks and how we’re supposed to feel.
33:35 – 34:45 Flash back of Jin Xiu and Zuo Zhen’s obstacles together.
TOTAL: 50 seconds
Ying Dong and Zuo Zhen talk about Xiang Han Chuan and getting avenging him.
And can I just point out how silly they look for setting that bench in the middle of that walkway?
Jin Xiu realizes Ming Zhu is gone from her room, and she gets Zuo Zhen to send a search party to look for her.
Xiang Han Chuan died because he would rather sacrifice himself to his opium poisoning rather that to be subject to the control of the Japanese, compromising the safety of his company and Ming Zhu.
Ming Zhu blamed Boss Shum for everything, and decided to go to kill him.
2:00-2:45 FLASHBACK TO HOW BOSS SHUM RAPED MING ZHU.
TOTAL 45 SECONDS.
Ming Zhu goes to Xiang Han Chuan’s grave to commit suicide to ‘be with him’, when she’s stopped by Jin Xiu. Ming Zhu faints.
Ming Zhu is in the hospital, and we find out that she’s pregnant. Remember Ariel Lin when she was playing Xue Wu in Lan Ling Wang? When she realized her love was dead and that she was pregnant, I thought she gave the best reaction and acting – extreme pain and sadness, mourning over her love’s death, but still a moment of joy and hope to know that she carried their child.
For Ming Zhu… nope. No reaction. Even though her love was dead, and now she was faced with the joy of having his child, but along with the pain with raising the child alone, she had pretty much no reaction.
6:35 – 7:55 FLASHBACK TO HOW GREAT XIANG HAN CHUAN WAS TO HER.
TOTAL: 1 MINUTE AND TWENTY seconds.
And I just wanted to add… I mean, I didn’t know before that it was possible for Ming Zhu and Han Chuan to have a child together… I mean, I just assumed they never had sex or something. How was she so sure that she was carrying Boss Shum or Long Yi’s child two months ago, and not Han Chuan’s?
6:35-7:55: TANG HAI KILLS THAT JAPANESE WOMAN FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME.
Ying Dong, as the new Mr. Xiang, announces that his company will not be associated or do business with Japanese people, as that’s what Xiang Han Chuan sacrificed himself to do.
Ying Dong sparked a movement across Shanghai, where Japanese people and business were boycotted.
Meanwhile, Ming Zhu is hospitalized to get rid of her opium addiction.
First thing: Xiang Han Chuan died from his addiction, even though he was hospitalized too, so how is it that they’re hoping that Ming Zhu could survive her addiction as well?
They never actually say that she survives or anything, because this is the last time in the drama that we’ll see Ming Zhu, but I really wish that they’d actually ended the drama up better and tied up loose ends.
Instead of all those damn flashbacks, how about a scene at the end with Ming Zhu and her baby or something? Or at least tell us if she’s died or something.
13:50 – 15:05 FLASHBACK ABOUT HOW ZUO ZHEN ALWAYS KICKS LONG YI’S ASS
TOTAL: 1 MINUTE AND FIVE SECONDS
Long Yi feels inferior to Zuo Zhen. Everything he’s worked for has come crashing down as all his relations that he’s established are gone, and the Japanese situation in Shanghai is worse than ever because no one trusts the Japanese, let alone work and cooperate with them.
Remember the Dark Knight rises? This is where the plot gets very similar to that.
Long Yi starts kidnapping and killing off board members of the Xiang family company. It’s kind of like how Joker was killing off civilians and people of power related to the Batman.
Long Yi leaves a letter, and gives Zuo Zhen a clue about his next target: it has a 口 in it (meaning a kind of a box in the chinese letter).
Zuo Zhen initially thought it would be a man with a surname 呂 since it has two boxes.
Zuo Zhen goes to the board member with the surname 呂 and kills off the man there dressed like Long Yi. This is when he realized that he got tricked. The man in the same outfit wasn’t Long Yi and Long Yi’s target was Xiang Ying Dong. The only way to get Ying Dong is to have Jin Xiu go to this particular warehouse.
Ying Dong, possibly the most pathetic person to ever walk the face of this hypothetical drama world, somehow gets captured.
Like c’mon, you are Shanghai’s wealthiest man, how the hell do you get captured? Xiang Han Chuan always had like 3 body guards around him.
It wasn’t even a competition when Ying Dong tried to fight Long Yi to avenge his brother. Long Yi kicked him in the face and he was knocked out.
Long Yi proceeded to do that villainous (but very pointless) thing of detailing what evil plan he was going to do to a seemingly unconscious person.
Jin Xiu insists on going to the warehouse. She wanted to comply with what Long Yi wanted, because she thought that was the best way to save Ying Dong’s life.
Zuo Zhen wanted her to stay back to keep her safe.
So he had a proper discussion with her, properly explaining his motives and intention, and his suggestion for what she could do, as a mutual respectful relationship.
He tied her up.
Yes. He tied her up. And I’m guessing the producers understand how dumb or messed up that is, because after he refuses to let her go, it cut scene to her being tied up.
Do you know why? Because it’s probably very hard to tie up a grown woman without holding a weapon to her or knocking her unconscious and so they decided to cut scene to her being tied up to skip all that trouble. But if you really think about it, if this drama was realistic, she would’ve had to sit down very compliantly for at least 20 minutes for him to tie her up.
All her kicking and screaming at Zuo Zhen to let her go afterwards looks so dumb when you think about it that way right?
Zuo Zhen shows up at the warehouse as Long Yi predicted.
As they were going in to save Ying Dong, Long Yi set off explosions while they were in the warehouse.
Long Yi reminds me of the Joker again when he was walking away from the explosions… Makes me think of the scene where the Joker was happily walking away from the bombed hospital.
Long Yi finds the conveniently tied up Jin Xiu. He kidnaps her tries to take her to the harbour to take her to Japan.
I’m assuming that he killed everyone in the mansion to trespass like that.
This last scene really reminded me of the Dark Knight too (ok it’s my favourite movie).
Long Yi is speeding down the street, ready to take Jin Xiu to the harbour, when Zuo Zhen is standing in the middle of the street waiting for him.
The same where Batman was just standing there waiting for the Joker.
I’m assuming that there is only one route and one road to get the harbour. But out of all the city/street scenes that we’ve seen, never has there been one where there are no people are the streets.
I mean Shanghai was pretty much city-centre of China back then, it was bustling and busy right?! The people just conveniently all left the streets for this fight scene.
Anyways, Long Yi speeds towards Zuo Zhen, wanting to run him over.
Shi Hao, who apparently is also a military-trained sniper, blows out one of Long Yi’s tires, making the car swerve and nearly crash.
Zuo Zhen stops Shi Hao from sniping Long Yi, and says “If you were a true samurai, you would fight me with your sword”. Zuo Zhen reveals that he is only alive because all his men decided to jump on him and Ying Dong (and since Shi Hao is alive, I’m guess on him too) and protect them from the explosions.
They are all dead, and Zuo Zhen is set to avenge them by killing Long Yi.
Long Yi has never won Zuo Zhen in a fight, so when they started fighting, it was a clear winner.
Long Yi was subdued, but his last wish was to be killed by Jin Xiu, because that was what he owed her.
If it was me though, I’d be like “Uh no” and I would do the opposite of whatever he requests so he does not rest in peace, considering all the bad things that he’s done and the amount of people he’s killed. If I was Zuo Zhen I would just say “NOPE you killed all my friends” and slit his throat.
But… that’s me.
This whole drama ends with Jin Xiu and Zuo Zhen staring off into Shanghai thinking about what had happened and everything that they’ve been through. They acknowledge how lucky they are together, while Huang Xiao Ming uncomfortably pushes his face into Joe Chen’s neck, and she looks on, awkwardly.
That’s it. I mean we had (in total) enough time for 20 minutes and 35 seconds out of 80 minutes of flashbacks… That’s one quarter of the finale. And you’re telling me that we couldn’t have a better ending? Maybe Jin Xiu and Zuo Zhen playing with their baby happily ever after? Maybe Ying Dong and Ming Zhu raising that child?
Ending with Zuo Zhen and Jin Xiu staring into Shanghai just seems like such a lazy way out. The drama overall wasn’t bad, and the ending, although frustrating wasn’t bad either, but there are so many ways that it could’ve been so much better. And if I could come up with it, those producers should have been able to too.
Verdict: Don’t regret watching, but would not watch again.