I went into this thinking that it would be like The Fierce Wife (AKA The Shrewd Wife), except with the wife doing the cheating but it was nothing like that. It was never about cheating but rather it was about how two people come to the realisation that they are not right for each other. Marriage is a bond between two people but marriage is the only thing that holds Shen Yi Zhen (Tian Xin) and Li Shao Wen (Christopher Lee) together. It was through this marriage that they came to realise that they are not the right ones for each other and this realisation came at the cost of numerous battles and struggles. These battles and struggles were what made the drama really strong and touchy. This was a very deep drama that made me tear up and blink back my tears multiple times.
It was neither Yi Zhen or Shao Wen’s fault that their marriage fell apart but rather it was because they were never meant for one another. Marriage was just an excuse for Yi Zhen to run and hide from reality. She didn’t even give it a second thought when she agreed to Shao Wen’s proposal. She used it as a way to mask reality and defend herself from attacks. Yi Zhen and Shao Wen do love each other, but they were never heading on the same path. They both wanted different things and had very different ideas with what they want to do with their future. Yi Zhen is hot-headed; she is willing to compromise but it has a limit. She is at heads with her parent-in-laws and Shao Wen is constantly at work and neglects her alone. However, with Zhou Shang En (Darren Qiu) she was able to seek out comfort and be her true self. She didn’t have to put on an act and was able to show him how she really felt. With Shang En she was able to love and feel that she was being loved.
Initially, I blamed Shao Wen for this marriage break-down but it was never his fault (though it is very easy to blame it all on him). He was never there for Yi Zhen when she needed it and never understood her. He made arrangements for her but never stopped to wonder whether she wanted them or not. He didn’t talk to her and he didn’t respect her decisions. He knows that it is her dream to work in the architect industry but without ever asking, he just made her drop her dream. It was only when she told him that she wanted a divorce that he started to realise that he never did enough for her. It was then that he started to stand up for her and started to understand her. It was only then that he realised that he had been neglecting her and that he was holding onto her against his and her will. He came to accept the fact that they never meant for each other and decided to set her free to chase her dreams.
Wanting to fall pregnant was just an excuse for Yi Zhen and Shao Wen to hold onto their marriage. They needed the baby because that would be something for them to talk about. Their marriage was dull and bland. Talk boiled down to “do you want me to make you food?” and “please iron my shirt”. From a couple who was held together by marriage, they had become awkward friends sharing the same roof. There is love to their relationship but it wasn’t romantic love that they had for each other.
For Shao Wen, his jealousy over Yi Zhen’s relationship with Shang En wasn’t due to love but rather due to his own desires to control Yi Zhen. After finding out about her feelings towards Shang En, he was motivated to pursue her again because he wanted to have her under his control. Only this way will he be able to feel as if he holds power over something. His father has always been controlling his life; the only decision that he made on his own terms was to marry Yi Zhen which is all the more reason as to why he wants to hold onto this marriage. He wants her because he wants that feeling of being in control.
I never actually considered Yi Zhen’s relationship with Shang En as infidelity, but I guess there are multiple definitions for infidelity. Yi Zhen and Shang En had feelings for each other but during Yi Zhen’s marriage with Shao Wen, it never went any further than just feelings. However, just having these feelings alone were enough for Yi Zhen to realise that he had betrayed Shao Wen. She never intended nor wanted to hurt Shao Wen so she forced herself to remain faithful in their marriage even though she wasn’t happy about it. As she spent more time with Shang En, she knew that he was the one for her. He was the only one who could make her genuinely happy which is why she opted for a divorce.
I really enjoyed watching how the diary went through Yi Zhen and Shao Wen’s hands. It was something that they both found solace in. For Yi Zhen, it allowed her to gather her thoughts and say what it is in her heart while for Shao Wen, it was a way for him to understand Yi Zhen better. It was through this diary that he discovered that he did not do enough for her and thus he started to change himself. It was also through this diary that they both realised that they are not meant for each other. The diary is a very important aspect to the drama. At the start, Yi Zhen would write in it telling Shao Wen that he can read it if he wants to but he never did and then when he started to read it, Yi Zhen placed a lock on it. Even during their cooling off period, she would still write to him. The diary was the only way that Yi Zhen and Shao Wen could communicate to each other and without it, they would never have the opportunity to understand one another on such a deep level.
I found myself quite enjoying Han Xiang Qi (Shara Lin) and Shang En’s relationship. She might be his ex, but I like the friendship that they were able to maintain even after the break-up. Breaking up was a good thing for them because they weren’t right for each other. Shang En wanted to settle down while Xiang Qi, being career-minded, wasn’t ready to do so yet. Like Yi Zhen and Shao Wen, they both had very different goals. They knew that they weren’t right for each other; their break-up happened naturally and they very easily fell to being friends which goes to show that they were just never meant to be. I enjoyed seeing how Xiang Qi helped Shang En to realise his feelings for Yi Zhen. Xiang Qi and Shang En’s talks were a really nice way for him to express his feelings.
The ending ended on the best terms for everyone. It was a very selfless thing for Shao Wen to set free Yi Zhen with his child, practically giving it away to Shang En. The ending was perfect, though I would have liked to see Shao Wen unite with his daughter. Shang En and Yi Zhen got to be together without scrutiny from anyone while Shao Wen found the woman who is the one for him.
I think that the leads all delivered a spectacular performance. They were all into character which made this drama feel that much more emotionally heavy. I absolutely loved Tian Xin and Christopher’s performances. They were brilliant, nailing each scene with emotion. My heart ached for them both at some point. One of my favourite scene was when Yi Zhen went to confess to Shao Wen that she had fallen for someone else. That scene was heart-wrenching! Shao Wen was so pitiful and fierce at the same time while Yi Zhen felt vulnerable and apologetic. The performance there was top-notch. Furthermore, the leads had amazing chemistry with each other which really helped to piece together the drama. Tian Xin’s chemistry with Christopher was probably the best thing of the drama. What I loved about them was that they played a couple who were out of love which makes their chemistry really unique.
This drama was amazing and very very dense. It twisted a traditional love story, making marriage the sad ending to a relationship. The acting and chemistry between the cast was brilliant which was what held this dense story together. I also really enjoyed the OST and now every time I hear these songs I can’t help but recall the obstacles that Shao Wen and Yi Zhen had to go through before they realised that they were never the one for each other.
[Credits: Pictures from https://www.facebook.com/A.Good.Wife.Fans]