Watched 5 episodes and verdict is : Cautiously good! I liked it better at ep 4 but keeping fingers crossed Ep 5 was an anomaly 🙂
Was impressed up to Ep 4 with the pacing, storyline and character development but it went a little downhill for me [Spoiler alert!] in terms of Wei Young’s character arc in Ep 5 when she suddenly became lovestruck while being so kick ass until then. That whole scene of her dancing in the butterflies also didn’t quite work for me – it was much better executed in Zhen Huan and it would have been nice if Tuoba Jun fell hard for her for other reasons and not because she looked pweety dancing in butterflies….Wei Yang seems to have awaken from her love stupor by the end of episode 5 so hopefully this was just an aberration and her character is not a damsel in distress with fits of wit and vibrancy and instead an intelligent, calm and spunky character with fits of girlish fancies.
Ep 5 aside, loving the premise of the show! I have to say that i am not a fan of Tang Yan but her character truly rocks! I have not read the book but I dig Wei Young! As a princess forced to assume another identity so immediately after watching her closest kin and friends murdered, she grieves sufficiently without being overly super hero like – I like how she couldn’t help herself and gripped the jade amulet when it was passed to Chang Le and subsequently gave some crap believable reason to excuse her behaviour. It would be unrealistic if she was completely stoic considering how raw her emotions should be. And it was great character storytelling that Wei Yang retained her princessy entitled self when she smacked the maid who had the audacity to slap her and teach her to pour tea. That’s the way! Not Miss Meek Mouse!
Tang Yan is passably competent as the titular character but I do feel that she is definitely lacking in her interpretation of the more nuanced scenes – eyes widening is not repressed anger, my dear! She does however have chemistry with Luo Jin and they look good together . Luo Jin is pretty awesome at the moment as Tuoba Jun (he flies, he fights, he’s kind and even plays the fishes!) but sadly, Vaness Wu’s (Tuoba Yu )styling is really not my cup of tea. Rachel Mao as Chang Ru is doing really well – uber cute but you just kinda know that still waters run deep. Chang Le is your typical mean girl beauty and Lee Xin’ Ai (she is a quarter Russian) has the striking exotic looks to carry it off. Special shout out to Tian Li who is totally owning her role as Madam Li – loving that she is a brilliant strategic antagonist – her positioning Chang Le is not just merely female harem games but part of a bigger picture to elevate her status and wealth – even her son is under her thumb !
Am so ready for an ancient drama so please don’t disappoint! Not expecting it to be of NiF calibre(although Wei Young’s character in the book is meant to be like Mei Chang Su per some blogs) – treating it like an idol drama so just please let us have a strong female character who forges her own path and can be wily and brazen when needed.