Plowed through this drama in 5 days. That’s how addicted I was to it. If you want to know whether it was a good drama or not, I can just tell you straight off the back that it was spectacular. So stop reading now and just start watching it.
I started getting into C dramas after watching “Scarlet Heart”. Then one after another, chinese dramas continued to captivate me with “Sound of Desert” and then eventually with the final blow “My Sunshine” converted me into a C drama fanatic. After watching “My Sunshine”(which stars Tiffany) I had a withdrawal from C dramas and found out that there were multiple dramas broadcasting one after another with Tiffany as the main lead, so I had to check it out. After seeing all those nice posters and gifs on tumblr in addition to all those news articles talking about “Lady and the Liar”, as soon as it neared the end, I jumped right into watching it and chose this one over “The Legend of Fragrance”. The good thing about C dramas is that all the episodes are out pretty fast and I won’t need to wait too long for the entire series to finish. I usually avoid period dramas set in the 1930’s since I feel that the sets and costumes aren’t believable but this drama did well in this aspect. (this is probably the reason why I skipped King of 2 Hearts and Bridal Mask)
Synopsis: The story takes place in Shanghai in the 1930’s where Jiang Xin (Tiffany Tang) and her adopted father are poor but honest and hardworking street magicians. Fate has it that she got a chance to perform at a celebration and saves Bai Zhang Jie (Hawick Lau) a powerful but dangerous businessman known for his cruel actions to obtain money and power who was being assassinated. He falls in love with her after she saves him but having someone she already loves, she is unwilling to marry him. However due to an accident, she loses her memory and Bai Zhang Jie takes advantage of the situation, making her his woman while Du Xiao Han (Yang Rong) a neighbor of Jiang Xin steals her identity. Sheng Jie Wen (Tony Yang) who is Jiang Xin’s real fiance is left to search for his lost lover.
Review: ♥♥♥♥♥ This drama had caught me into a black hole where I could not do anything else aside from glueing my eyes to the screen. I had originally wanted to write a first impression of this but was so sucked into watching that I finished the drama before I even got a chance to write it. It’s a story that depicts the plight of the poor during the 1930s where corruption and abuse of power is rampant and only the rich and powerful can rule. Of course the main highlight of this drama is the love triangle where we watch as our female lead is torn between a man that can give her everything and a past lover that she can’t remember. Our main antagonists are those trying to escape their wretched life and those with an incessant thirst for revenge leading us to an unexpected surprise in the end where the betrayer is someone you would never think of.
I was attracted to our heroine’s bravery to risk her life and save Bai Zhang Jie and also his selflessness to protect a female that he has no relation to. I liked how Bai Zhang Jie also called by others as Er Ye (in chinese it means second master) would change his behavior and everything he could to suit the woman he loved and even though he was wronged, he would continue to silently protect the person her. He was a hero that not only protects those that he loved but would also sacrifice himself for the people in his country.
Hawick Lau’s portrayal of Er Ye was awesome but his character isn’t different than the ones he has played in the past. At first I could only see his cold entrepreneur gang leader demeanor but later on you see him become a teddy bear in front Jiang Xin and I just love how he protects and shelters her in anyway possible. Even though he would say things harshly he would shoulder all the blame to protect those he cared about and his pain is only seen in his eyes that are filled with remorse.
Tiffany Tang shows us her usual bright cheerfulness but you do see a three different Jiang Xin. In the beginning, she is dressed in rags and street performer clothes with her hair covered under a hat. She is hardworking and bright but is street-smart and knows what to say and do to survive. After she loses her memory and is under the protection by Bai Zhang Jie, she is dressed in pretty dresses with her hair down and embellished with a headband. She is the cutest, brightest, happiest, most naive during this time. After she recovered her memories and endured the loss of her family members, she wore mostly black and white clothing which represented a more somber character that lived only to keep her family business running.
I have to give an applause to Yang Rong where she played her character as a low-life thief well. This is the first time I am seeing her and I would say her acting is astounding especially in the end where you could see her remorse after killing her mother. I would say her acting triumphs Tiffany’s acting. Sometimes I feel that playing the evil character brings out a higher level of acting with expressions and feelings that can’t be done when you’re always playing the good old nice character like Lee Yoo Ri did when she played the antagonist in “Come! Jang Bo Ri”. I especially liked Yang Rong’s expression in episode 32 when she told her mother that others would be afraid just being in the presence of a gun but she has been pointed by a gun so many times that she could tell just by looking into the gun holder’s eye whether the person would shoot her or not.
The sets and costumes were all well selected and made it believable to look like the drama was filmed in the 1930s. The costumes were all intricately done. I loved the feathered costumes that gives off the Great Gatsby feel, the jewelry and the headbands and headpieces they selected. I especially like the highlighted the difference between the rich and the poor where the rich people had elaborate mansions while the poor lived in clustered thatched rooms. I wondered where they found location of the old dirt village. Seeing all those vintage props like the old bumper cars and the gramophone player was a feast for my eyes.
The only downfall to this drama is the obviously fake fight scenes. The actors fight so slow that it looks like the opponent is waiting to receive that kick or punch in the face. I also didn’t like how pathetic they made Er Ye look and how coldhearted they made Jiang Xin look in the end.
By far, I think this drama has one of the most captivating openers. I like how they chose a word to describe each character, and it makes you wonder how each character would unravel in the story.
Over this was a really nice romantic drama with a good amount of revenge and betrayal that was filmed beautifully with nice sets, props and costumes.
The next C drama that I plan to watch is “Cruel Romance” with Huang Xiao Ming and Chen Xiao En. Haven’t seen my favorite actress Chen Xiao En in a long time. Cruel Romance is set in the same time frame as “Lady and the Liar” and I want to see how they compare. I am not a fan of Huang Xiao Ming ever since watching Summer Bubbles with his raspy voice and where he gave off the if-you-don’t-love-me-then-i-will-kill-you vibe. Even to this day, just seeing him I would get chills. I find that compared to Hawick Lau, Huang Xiao Ming has that colder and crueler feel to him that makes him more suitable of being a cold blooded gang leader. Although Hawick played his manipulative business entrepreneur well, he gives off a much cuter look with a the-guy-next-door feel which I find adorable. Hopefully Cruel Romance will be able to change my opinion of Huang Xiao Ming.
notes: I realized that I watched the cutted version and I missed the parts describing how Jiang Xin and Jie Wen met. When I was watching it, I couldn’t understand how they could have met since one was poor and the other was rich but I realized near the end that I watched the cutted version, and they cut out those scenes. Does anyone know where to watch the uncut version?
I watched it raw from dailymotion
My favorite scene is where Er Ye and Jiang Xin was angry at each other but despite that, you can see true love in that instance where he protects her first in times of danger.
Other memorable scenes were the bickering scene where Jiang Xin and Er Ye did not spoke to each other and had their servants relay their word to each other. I can’t get enough of scenes like that.
Did anyone realize that there has been lots of intimate shaving scenes in the drama world now? First in Pinnocchio, and then in this drama and also in We Got Married where Yura shaves Jonghyun’s face for a photoshoot and also where Kim So Eun shaves Song Jae Rim’s face when he is sick.
There is also the new image for wolf. Jiang Xin says wolf is a loyal creature that only has one partner in his/her lifetime. This is pretty similar in “Sound of Desert” where Cecilia Liu praises wolves.
I didn’t like how pathetic they made Er Ye look in the end. He was such a mighty and powerful figure in the beginning that nobody dares to mess with. How could he fall just because he took out all his money to buy another company. He still has the power, connections, and his gangs that he has built up all these years to control the police and anyone that comes in his way. Basically his closest friends sacrificed themselves in order to save him. I also didn’t like how cruel they made Jiang Xin to be when she didn’t feel a slight bit of regret for shooting Er Ye. I was actually pretty annoyed that Er Ye came to rescue her later on.
I seem to feel that smoking is making a comeback in dramas. I know that in this drama and during that time period, smoking was common and cigars symbolized the wealth but I feel that in lots of other dramas they have the male lead use smoking to convey his emotions.
Comments I had while watching the drama:
ep1 the drama so far is pretty exciting and the framed our main characters nicely. However right before the drama ends, the guy is running for his life yet he drags a girl with him. The girl is in no danger if you leave her alone but when you drag her with you, you are putting her in danger. The fight scene at the end was so slow and it was pretty obvious it was all set up. The miniscene where her hat falls off and they hold each other twirling around was so unnecessary. If they must add it, please make it more dreamy.
ep2 the new trend is to talk about wolves. She said wolves are faithful animals. For their entire life, they only have one partner. If one partner dies, the other wolf would stay lonely for the rest his life which reminds me of sound of desert where liu shi shi says something similar.
ep 16 the plot is starting to not make sense. Du xiao Han was killing all those people without batting and eye. Yet when she sees that policemen that abused her she becomes powerless. With her power and influence, she can kill him easily or just make up an excuse accusing him. No one would care about a former fired policemen.
Bai ye has so much power and influence in shanghai, he wasn’t able to find out that his half brother is working at that small newspaper office. If he wanted to find out who that writer with penname citizen’s heart is, he could have someone monitor that office and see how which employees are in that office.
ep 17 I wanted to find out how jiang xin and jie wen met. Finally a bit of it is revealed in ep 17 but I still don’t quite understand what happened. So he crashed into her while she was performing on the streets and her money was spread all over the place.
ep20 tony acting hurt was horrible. It’s obvious he’s acting.
I kinda feel that since she hasn’t recovered her memories yet, even though she has heard that she was supposed to be Jie Wen’s fiance and that Er Ye has lied to her about everything, I feel that she wouldn’t have left because she is truly in love with er ye. She is feeling sad or angry at Er Ye but the whole entire time that she has been with Er Ye, she also saw what he did for her and was moved by him. How could she have left him that easily. No matter how she looks at Jie wen or feels sorry for him, since her memories hasn’t recovered yet, she wouldn’t feel anything for Jie Wen because right now he is just a friend and not a lover.
ep23 CG in this drama is so fake- reached climax ?
ep 26 Jie wen actually has a pretty bad temper. He is always throwing rocks at Er Ye’s car and kicking his car, damaging things. I find that his character is quite similar to Er Ye. The writers should have made a stark contrast between the two people. Making Jie Wen quieter and calmer type person.
I am a sucker for guys that help the girl secretly in the background.
ep27 this just shows that you need power to do anything in shanghai at that time. Without Er Ye’s power and influence, Jiang Xin wouldn’t have been able to do anything.
ep28-Er Ye would never let Jiang Xin do anything yet Jie Wen kept making her do all those chores so she would leave. There is also the shaving scene- is shaving your guy the new trend since we have already seen a similar scene in Pinocchio.
so funny how Er Ye started to believe that temple owner about buying those love knots. Even I could tell that guy is lying. What can we say. Love is blind.
ep29 Jiang Xin went to the temple already knowing what she already wanted. She wanted to be with Jie Wen because she felt that she owed him.
Jiang Xin is jealous-so cute.
ep31 yang ron’s acting is amazing. esp when she told her mother that she knew that her mother wasn’t going to fire the gun on her.
ep32 even after getting shot by jiang xin, he still comforts her that he’s alright. jiang xin is actually pretty cruel. She hurt someone yet she doesn’t care.
i find that recently in movies and dramas, they smoking has made a comeback. I have been seeing more people smoking in dramas to convey their emotions and frustrations. Bai Liang smokes quite a lot.
ep33 why do I feel annoyed that Er Ye came to save her.
36- Seeing them bicker makes it so funny. Telling others to redirect message. so funny.
42-shocking ending. I would never have believe he was the betrayer. There were no signs at all.
ep 44 don’t quite like the ending. So many people died for him. kinda makes him look pathetic since he wasn’t able to protect those around him. Just toward the end as a general, he wasn’t able to do anything in the end and he didn’t seem to have any power at all. Especially ever since he went to help Jiang Xin to revive her family business, it seemed he became powerless just because of money. He has his widespread influence, being the number one businessman in Shanghai, how could he not get money. The two elderly person wanted him to resign his position of Bai Family’s Head if he could not gather the money within time but if he is removed, there is no one else to step up up for the position and no one else as capable as him. The real cause of death is more like the elderly people trying to controlling too much. Even if they didn’t gather all that money in time, Bai family wouldn’t collapse. However by forcing him to get money, he had to steal, and the fell into a trap that he couldn’t get out of causing other people to come and help him. What happened to all the fear people had for him. He was known for a bad guy to the citizens, even if he was a traitor and selling drugs, or killed his aunts and uncles, isn’t he known by the public to do that. Who would dare touch him? It seemed like once he went to the police, he was under their control and there was no one else who could support him. A major leaders like him should have many subordinates that work for him, even if he was in trouble, all his connections that he has influence over would come out and help him. And that Lui Ye, he was supposed to be arrested for slavery and other atrocities, but just because he went missing for awhile and appear 10 years later does not make him a free person. How could the police let him walk around freely. I feel that with Er Ye’s influence, controlling the police shouldn’t be a problem.
ep45-love the following conversation:
JX-I know that you leave in the early morning and return late at night because you want to hide something from me. Put I don’t plan to ask you because I don’t want you to lie to me.
BZJ-When have I ever lied to you?
JX-You’re an expert at lying. But I know that every time you lie, it’s for my good. I read in a book once that a person tells about 88,000 lies in his/her lifetime. That means that if you were to live to 88 years old, then on average you would be telling about 1,000 lies each year which would be about 3 lies per day.
BZJ-I want to leave you. I don’t love you. You are the person I hate the most. Okay today’s limits are up. I won’t be telling anymore lies.
JX- How can you only tell 3 lies per day? You would definitely exceed that amount.
BZJ- It probably because I won’t live until 88 years old. Jiang Xin, if I want to finish something, I won’t be able to return, what would you do?
JX- I fell in love with a wolf. A wolf that would protect his pack of family. What he cares about, he won’t let go of it. It’s the same for love, for family, and his compatriots- he will protect all of them. You won’t abandon me. Go accomplish the matters that you want to do.
BZJ-I am sorry.