Hey everyone! Please welcome Vanilladreamcream from Dramadreamland to our ship! She has graciously offered to help with recaps, alternating with another volunteer, which you will soon meet. Recapping is a tough job so do give her lots of love as this will be a long journey full of abs and ice-creams and she’s relatively new. – Kappy
Episode 1 Recap:
The episode opens up with our female protagonist, Jin Xiu (Chen Qiao En), in a competition to obtain the ribbon head that is on top of a bamboo tower. The prize for this year is a five colored cake which supposedly brings good luck and fortune when used to honor the descendants. Unfortunately another man has reached the top and snatched the ribbon before her but the man accidentally slips and she grabs him just in time to prevent him from falling to his death. In order to to thank her for saving him, he gave up the ribbon head to her and she wins the competition, happily bringing home the tub of cake. Back at home you see the father in a rage after hearing that she had attended the competition and was not acting accordingly like other females.
Jin Xiu heads straight to her mother’s room ignoring the housekeepers request that her father is summoning her. Her mom starts to chastise her for her actions but she says that the cake is a blessing that would ward off evil and diseases. Apparently her mom is sick and she wanted the cake to help cure her mom’s disease. She then asks if there is any news of her older sister, Ming Zhu, but her mom say there is still no news of her. Ming Zhu is Jin Xiu’s half-sister that was born from a different mother who is the first wife of her father. Her mom laments that they have no idea of what their living condition is like ever since they left the family 14 years ago.
The father finds Jin Xiu and starts chastising her for exposing herself in the public all the time. Jin Xiu apologizes to her father but her father says the rules are rules and that she needs to be punished. The atmosphere then lightens up as her father gives her the punishment of not allowing her to sleep and to collect dewdrops condensed on top of water lilies as medicine for her mother. This is not a real punishment and Jin Xiu happily thanks her father for not punishing her while her father brings out bag of her favorite biscuits. Jin Xiu seems to be a filial daughter and she also has close relationship with her father.
While she’s collecting dewdrops off of the water lilies in the middle of the night, a man appears from the lake and buries a watch in the dirt before he passes out. Jin Xiu discovers that it is teacher Chen who is the new teacher at her school and takes him home to care for him. Her father’s finds out that the teacher is hurt from a gun wound. Lao Ma, the housekeeper, seeing the gun that teacher Chen is holding, advises them not to bring in the man since he would only bring complications but the father, who is a doctor, ignores his worries and tells him to clear the blood stains on the ground and brings teacher Chen into the house, tending to his wounds.
In the midst of extracting the bullet from his chest, teacher Chen suddenly wakes up and points his gun at her father. Jin Xiu quickly appeases him that he is her father and means no harm. Teacher Chen then tells Jin Xiu that he buried a pocket watch under the rocks and tells her to look for it. Jin Xiu immediately heads out to find the watch.
While Jin Xiu is looking for the broken watch, a group of Japanese soldiers barges into the house killing anyone they see in sight. Teacher Chen tells her father to not tell anyone that they have seen him before or else it will bring them trouble and he flees. Everyone in the house is soon captured by the soldiers and they force the father to tell them the man’s whereabouts. True to his words, the father says he has not seen anyone but the leader shoots the mother, killing her. Not able to withstand watching his master die, Lao Ma tells them the direction the man had fled in and upon hearing what they wanted to know, they immediately kill everyone in the house.
Jin Xiu returns to the house after finding the pocket watch and finds her whole family killed. Her father hasn’t died yet and tells her to run but while she is refusing to leave, a soldier shows up and her father blocks the flying bullets with his body. Watching the shots going through her father’s body, Jin Xiu flees as soldiers chase after her and is rescued by teacher Chen.
Teacher Chen apologizes for bringing them all the misfortunes and asks her to bring the pocket watch to Saint Mary Cathedral in Shanghai. He pushes her down the hill to escape from the soldiers while he gets shot and dies. The soldiers find a button that fell off of Jin Xiu’s clothes and the leader, Maeda Ryuichi (Qi Ji), demands everyone to find her in order to retrieve the secret document.
Waking up after falling downhill, she returns home only to find her house engulfed in flames. Her entire estate is burned down and the only remnants they could find was a jade ring that was worn by her father. Devastated but left with no choice, Jin Xiu then heads to Shanghai to deliver the pocket watch as she had promised Mr. Chen and to find the assassinators to avenge her family.
Our male lead, Zuo Zhen (Huang Xiao Ming) appears holding a package of medicine. He is given a fight scene where 10 other attackers are not his match and while boarding the ship, our valiant Jin Xiu senses that he is being followed, brings him to an area where he can hide, despite his protests. While in the cramped ship, people bump into her, sending her right into Zuo Zhen’s chest, making her awkward. She moves away from him but right at that moment, an attacker appears and Zuo Zhen kisses her to conceal himself. He leaves swiftly after telling her not to bother him.
Feeling indignant, Jin Xiu follows him and tells him to apologize. At that point, one attacker finds them and directs his sword at Jin Xiu which Zuo Zhen quickly brings her into his arms and blocks it. He then gives her the package of medicine and pushes her away so that he can fight. The lead attacker takes hostage of Jin Xiu, demanding Zuo Zhen not to move or else he would kill her but Zuo Zhen replies that she has no relation to him and that he can proceed and kill her. Jin Xiu asks how he can be so coldblooded but Zuo Zhen replies that if she does die he would take proper care of her corpse.
Seeing their conversation, the attacker figures that Jin Xiu is not a bargaining chip, pushes her away to attack Zuo Zhen. Jin Xiu falls overboard during the chaos and Zuo Zhen grabs her arm just in the nick of time. As she tries to bring up her other arm, she drops the pocket watch and she pushes herself away from Zuo Zhen to retrieve the watch that has been dropped into the sea. While searching for the watch underwater, she loses consciousness and Zuo Zhen jumps in to save her.
Jin Xiu regains her consciousness and finds herself all drenched on top of bed. Upon seeing Zuo Zhen shirtless, she screams at the top of her lungs, huddling beneath the blankets. We are treated to some eye candy as Zuo Zhen shows off his muscular upper body while he wrings out his shirt, coolly asking what she was so afraid of when she had jumped into the ocean, not even afraid of death.
He approaches her, sending her into a frenzy but he only wanted to bring her a towel. He then takes out the pocket watch wondering why she would risk her life for a measly item, and upon seeing the watch she quickly snatches it from his hand. He asks how much she costs, which she rebuts him saying that she never said she would sell herself. Zuo Zhen says there are many women like her who try to get close to him and gives her a chance to tell him what she wants. Jin Xiu responds that she doesn’t know who he is and what he is talking about. Zuo Zhen takes her words with a grain of salt and replies that he doesn’t care whether she knows who he is or not but he is giving her a last chance and to not overlook it which earns him a “crazy lunatic” remark from Jin Xiu.
As Zuo Zhen gets off the boat, he stands there majestically as his entourage greets him. I find that it’s funny that there is no one else around them unloading from the boat like it’s their private ship but figured that he must have a private unloading route. Jin Xiu squeezes past him to unload from the boat first and Zuo Zhen yells after her, telling her that he is giving her a final chance to tell him a price for the pocket watch. Jin Xiu replies “You already told me that was the last chance, and now you are saying the last chance again. How many last chances are there?” She then continues saying that the pocket watch is very important to her and that she won’t sell it.
After hearing that, Zuo Zhen takes off the necklace he has on and shoves it in her hand, telling her that this is his promise to her: if she were to encounter any problems in Shanghai, when she takes out the necklace, he will resolve the problem. As he gets into his car, one of his entourage, Tang Hai (Cai Jun Tao), shoves Jin Xiu aside and it turns out he had stolen the pocket watch from her which earns him a disapproving look from another one of Zuo Zhen’s right-hand man, Shi Hao (Yang Le).
In the car, they address Zuo Zhen as Er Ye and ask if he has gotten the medicine but he says that it’s been dropped. When he was saving Jin Xiu, she grabbed onto the packet of medication when she was trying to grab his hand and during the chaos dropped it into the ocean. The medicine was supposed to be for Mr. Feng and without the medicine, it is a problem. However, Tang Hai says that since they had specifically requested for Er Ye to personally bring back the medication, it must have been a trap laid out by Long Si who is affiliated with the Japanese. They then head directly to Mr. Feng’s place.
Back with Jin Xiu, a suspicious looking man pulling a rickshaw approaches her and asks her where she’s heading to. She tells him Saint Mary’s Cathedral and the man quickly takes her luggage saying he knows a short route directly there. Our naive heroine is being conned.
Zuo Zhen meets Mr. Feng who is his “Shi Fu” (which means mentor or teacher) and tells him he is incompetent for not being able to return with the medicine. This allows a chance for Long Si to criticize him and even hints to Mr. Feng that Zuo Zhen may have lost the medication on purpose. Zuo Zhen kneels down saying he is willing to take the punishment but Mr. Feng pardons him saying that in his state right now, he needs someone to take care of his business. Long Si continues to take this chance and says he knows of a medicine but requires Zuo Zhen to sacrifice a piece of flesh to use as part of the medicine. Zuo Zhen with a determined gaze, raises his dagger but as he brings it down, he is stopped by Shi Fu, who tells him that it’s not worth for him to suffer for his old life.
Outside of the estate, the hot tempered Tang Hai is outraged at Long Si working with the Japanese trying to obliterate Zuo Zhen and suggests they tell Mr. Feng about it but Zuo Zhen tells him not to get ahead of himself. He then reminds Zuo Zhen that Ying Dong has returned from France and Mr. Xiang (Xie Jun Hao), who is Ying Dong’s older brother, is holding a banquet to celebrate his return and asks if Zuo Zhen would attend. Zuo Zhen says that it was so fast, now Ying Dong has returned and Shi Hao reminds him that it was already two years since Ying Zhao left. Not getting a definitive answer from Er Ye, Tang Hai asks Zuo Zhen whether or not he will be attending the banquet but Shi Hao brusquely tells him that since Mr. Xiang had invited him, Zuo Zhen has no choice but to attend.
Meanwhile Jin Xiu is being taken to some place by a shoddy-looking man. She realizes that the pocket watch is missing and tells him to stop but the man thinks that his scheme has been discovered so he pulls the rickshaw even faster. They arrive at some desolate alley and another man is already waiting to backup the man. Finally understanding her situation, she screams for help but the other man says there is no one around the area and proceeds to molest her. However, the man who pulled the rickshaw stops him, reminding him that they only want money and does not want to hurt the woman, causing the two men to fight. Seizing the chance, Jin Xiu grabs her luggage to run away but is caught by the man. Her suitcase drops open, and Zuo Zhen’s necklace falls to the ground. Recognizing Zuo Zhen’s necklace, the two men’s faces are filled with fear. She realizes that the men are afraid the Zuo Zhen and boasts that if Zuo Zhen was to find out about all this, they would be in deep trouble. The two men drop to their knees begging her to forgive them and Jin Xiu agrees as long as take her to find Zuo Zhen.
We are once again treated to some eye candy as Zuo Zhen is changing into his suit to attend the banquet. He describes himself as a loyal countrymen that is a member of the Huang Pu Trading Association and believes that as a Chinese person, he needs to stick up for the country. We find out that his necklace is precious to him and has never left him before.
Jin Xiu finally arrives at Zuo Zhen’s estate just in time to see Zuo Zhen leaving, so she tells the man to follow Zuo Zhen’s car. Zuo Zhen arrives at the Paramount Club where the banquet is held and he heads in. Jin Xiu tries to follow him but is prevented from entering and she loiters outside thinking of ways to bypass the doormen.
In next scene, the influential Mr. Xiang that even Zuo Zhen pays respect to makes his appearance. He is enjoying the ambiance as jazz music plays in the background and his guests are waltzing on the dance floor. Mr. Xiang seems to be the typical businessmen where he has smiles all over his face, but his heart has a different motive. He is introduced to a french man, but before his friend even introduces, he already knew who that man is from his deductions and they shower each other with praises. We find out from that french man that Mr Xiang is the director of the Shanghai’s Business Association with an immense amount of wealth and also Shanghai’s top businessmen. He keeps a smile on his face but we finally see him frown when his men tell him that his brother Ying Dong has not arrived at the banquet yet. Ying Dong (Kimi Qiao), at first glance, seems to be a playboy as he is partying and drinking in the arms of several girls but as the girls leave we see that he is dejected and is missing someone dearly.
Back at the Paramount, Zuo Zhen and Mr. Xiang is having some business talk and Mr. Xiang reminds him to always be careful.
Meanwhile, Jin Xiu is still trying to find her way into the Paramount. The doormen discovers her tricks and pushes away, sending her falling into the arms of Ying Dong. Ying Dong introduces himself as a friend of Jin Xiu and asks the doormen to do him a favor and let them in because he knows Ying Dong. To his dismay, the doormen has no idea who Ying Dong is and claims they only follow the directions of Mr. Xiang. Angered that his own name doesn’t have enough power, Ying Dong is about to start a fight but Jin Xiu stops him and he leaves, determined to bring her in. He finds a ladder in the bushes and helps her climb in through the window. When he gets in, he heads straight to his room and changes into a proper attire.
Jin Xiu thinks he is stealing someone else’s clothes and questions him, but he replies that he is only borrowing the outfit and will return it. Seeing that her clothes are not acceptable for the occasion, he brings out a cape and when she refuses to put it on (probably because she thinks he is stealing it), he personally puts it on for her.
At the dance hall, she is weaving through the crowd looking around for Zuo Zhen but accidentally bumps into girl. In revenge, the girl trips Jin Xiu. She falls right into the arms of Zuo Zhen and her hands land right on his chest. The episode closes with Zuo Zhen frustratedly saying “Why is it you again!”
———- END ———-
vanilladreamcream: This has been a nice first episode and it sets the stage for the blossoming romance between our main characters. However, I find everything to be happening way too fast. Just 20 minutes into the episode, our female protagonist has already lost her family and everything she owned and is forced to travel to the distant land of Shanghai to find her parents’ killers. Not too long afterwards, she meets her fated one and is forced into a kiss. I find it annoying that she is being a busybody and helping out another man when she is also being chased by assassins. How does she know that man isn’t a criminal? And how many times does she have to trip and fall into another man’s arms. Can’t the writers be more creative about how the characters first meet each other?
I find that the sets are too fake unlike the more believable sets in Lady and the Liar. The underwater scene where she falls into the ocean was obviously filmed in a pool. The scene used to represent Shanghai is boring and I cringe every single time they use that image as a transition. You will see it more in the future. I do have to say that the fight scenes are better with Huang Xiao Ming than the ones in Lady and the Liar.
I was disappointed that they have dubbed the perfectly fine voices but that was pretty much expected since this is a Chinese drama. I miss hearing Chen Xiao En’s real voice from her older Taiwanese dramas.
Both leads have played their part well. Chen Xiao En is her usual self, crying and expressing her anger and happiness whenever it is required of her. I find that Huang Xiao Ming plays a stoic cold-hearted business/gang leader better than Hawick Lau does, mostly because I think Huang Xiao Ming himself normally looks cold. Even when he smiles, I feel that he’s smiling about something sinister. Hawick is too cute to fit the character of a cold-hearted man.
Zuo Zhen has two side-kicks that have similar personalities to the side-kicks in Lady and the Liar. We see that Yang Le from My Sunshine has taken up the character of Zuo Zhen’s trusted helper and he plays the honest and calm Shi Hao well. Sometimes I don’t know if I like the character or if I like the actor himself.
I find that Xie Jun Hao who plays Mr. Xiang (full name Xiang Han Chuan) looks like an older version of Bosco Wong. So far the character of Mr. Xiang feels like a humble, warm, and genuine person but on the flip side he is a very careful and meticulous person when he’s dealing business matters. We have yet to see any signs of cunningness and deception from him but I believe it will slowly be revealed to us later on since because after all, he is a businessmen.
This is the first time that I am seeing Kimi Qiao who plays Xiang Ying Dong. When I first saw him in the character posters, I thought he was our antagonist. Surprisingly he is a sweet and caring person but rebels to attract attention due to feeling overshadowed by his much more impressive older brother.
Finally, I want to mention a cute looking guy who plays one of the Japanese men who invaded the house and ended up killing the father. My first impressions of him was, he is a nice guy. I even thought that he was a spy for the Chinese government and had infiltrated into the Japanese army. However my first impressions are not always right, because in the next couple episodes he is still just a Japanese assassin. Does anyone know what his real name is?
So far, I am liking how our main characters are entangled together. I have tried so hard to stop myself from watching too much but I somehow already finished episode 4. I definitely think this is a good drama filled with lots of action scenes and cute moments. With Chen Xiao En and Huang Xiao Ming playing the leads, I definitely think you should check it out.