Princess Agents

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  • Score: 8.3 (scored by 2,398 users)
  • Ranked: #511
  • Popularity: #537
  • Watchers: 5,501

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Completed
Jeana
37 people found this review helpful
Aug 2, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 4
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 5.0
This review may contain spoilers
*Before I begin the review, I have sincere advice for anybody who hasn't started watching the show: Do not read the plot description of Princess Agents on Dramalist. Not only is it filled to the brim with spoilers, it also reveals things that the watcher should definitely not be aware of going into the show. They have copied the synopsis from Wikipedia which is highly misleading and so, in order to fully enjoy the show you need to forget about it.*

Princess Agents has most definitely been my favorite drama of 2017. I have been waiting for a long time to write this review and many a times I almost gave into the urge to gush about it to everyone but unlike some impatient little boogers, I decided to wait for the drama to completely air first. I'm glad I did.

Even though, Princess Agent's story remained interesting from start to finish, it was the cast and characters that were the essence of the show.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I for one have a lot of love for my lady badasses and Chu Qiao was the definition of a badass. She was brilliant, witty, an excellent fighter, loyal to the bone and fully determined in her beliefs. Nobody could boss her around and she always stuck to what she thought was right. Watching Zhao Zanilia on-screen has always been a pleasure. She's such a versatile actress and her effortless elegance along with her sincere charisma never fails to make her acting seem extremely natural. I loved Chu Qiao so much and her fighting scenes always blessed me with these unexpected bursts of adrenaline rush that left me jumping around in excitement.

One thing I absolutely hate in Chinese dramas are the robotic and emotionless male leads that are perfect in every way and while, YuWen Yue started off as being cold and aloof, he soon began to win hearts with his unadulterated devotion towards our girl. He's someone who's not afraid to express his honest feelings and show his vulnerable side and that is what made him so endearing. Lin Geng Xin put out the acting of his life and was able to easily deliver YWY's innermost emotions without having to do much. The chemistry between Chu Qiao and YWY was simply electric.
Princess Agents was Kung Fu made sexy and these two characters communicated their every feeling with it. Every time these two were in a room together the temperature rose a few considerable degrees until everything felt hotter and a lot more sensual.

However, even though I was wholeheartedly rooting for YuWen Yue, my love for Yan Xun wasn't insignificant in any way. Dou Shawn brought to life, with his stunning acting, an unforgettable character. His transition from a reckless, know-no-better, kind-hearted prince to a cruel and blinded by vengeance duke was heart breaking. No matter what he did, it was so hard to truly hate Yan Xun because he was a man shaped by the scars of his life; someone slowly losing grasp of the humanity that defined him and it was all just such a shame. With his sharp eyes and an even sharper jawline Yan Xun slayed the hearts of the viewers without even trying.

Normally, I despise love triangles. Primarily because I'm almost always more inclined towards one of the male leads and then all the romantic scenes with the other just piss me off. However, deciding between Yan Xun and Yuwen Yue was such a hard thing to do because they were both fully committed towards their love for Chu Qiao. Whenever my heart was cheering one of them on, there came fluttering a scene with the other man that melted by insides. Chu Qiao had significant history and a strong bond with both of them and by the end of the show, I was almost praying for YX to mess up in some way so she could go to YWY.

Another actress whose work needs to be commended is Li Qin. She played the role of the extremely annoying, holier than thou, too stupid to live princess and played it in such a way that she was still tolerable till the end. Chun'er, time and time again made me want to bang my head with the wall. Not only was she extremely naive and selfish, she always ended up making a tragedy out of herself. She had everybody bend over backwards to save her worthless ass from her own mistakes and then she chose to blame others for her failures. All of her schemes always failed and it ended in her being utterly humiliated. So it was only because of the brilliant acting that by the end of the show the watchers still harbored some sympathy for her. Li Qin is undeniably talented and her portrayal of some scenes often left me open mouthed.

Backed by stunning visuals, a hauntingly good soundtrack and a gripping plot-line, Princess Agents was a treat throughout. It had me waking up at 7 am every morning because I wanted to see the new episode as soon as the subs were released. It had me watching entire episodes in raw form just because I was too impatient to know what happened next and it had me wishing away my weekends because I had no episode to look forward to then.

All in all, this review clearly shows how much I loved this drama so you must be wondering why then, did I not give it a solid 10? That is where we address the elephant in the room. Up until most of the show, I was willing to give it a 10 without a second thought and then came the outrageous ending.

The drama ends with the worst cliff hanger in Asian Drama history with absolutely nothing resolved. It's like the thing that you've been looking forward to throughout 67 episodes finally appears and when everything is at its peak, the show ends and your celebratory moment is snatched away from you. However, it would've been all okay if a second season with the same cast had been confirmed. Then this horribly disappointing finale would've been converted to a powerful episode that filled one with anticipation for the next season but that is not the case. The news for the second season is muddy at best and there's a high chance that the actors for the show will be changed out.

That is what makes millions of viewers so angry and devastated because this seems like a huge injustice. A disrespect to the drama, the actors who worked their ass off and the viewers who had been wholly attached to the story. What we wanted was closure but instead it was like we were handed the short end of the stick. The last few episodes were filled with unnecessary filler trash and the writers cramped everything into the finale, shoved all of it under a rug and dusted their hands with it.

This is the reason why this show could have been something phenomenal but ended up having its head cut off due to poorly planned decisions made on the behalf of the Princess Agent's team. Just like in the show the foul actions of an insecure King ruined the lives of many, the reckless actions of the drama creators eradicated many hopes.

I myself felt betrayed. The ending was like a personal offense and all the hours invested into the drama suddenly felt wasted. In that moment I wanted to give it a 4/10 rating out of rage, which is why I completely understand the low reviews and the hate comments. Once you see the ending, slowly you start to judge the entire show and downplay everything about it. All the things that seemed so great before, start to leave a sour taste in the mouth. However while I understand it, doesn't mean I would do the same myself because even if I had known beforehand the way it was going to end, I would have still chosen to watch the show. Because upon further thinking I realized that for me being on this journey with these amazing characters and creating a bond with all of them, alone was a great experience and discrediting the whole show just because of the ending seemed unfair.

So if you're considering watching it, don't dread the result rather enjoy the process.

Good Luck!

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Completed
Sey KompungCham
55 people found this review helpful
Jun 30, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
This review may contain spoilers
Love this Princess Agents drama. Love the cast, specially the two main lead, Xinger and Yuwen Yue. This drama is really addicting and it makes you wondering what is going to happen next. I can't say much of the story line because of spoilers. Give this drama a try, you will not be disappointed. there are only 32 episodes that have been aired so far. I have rewatched them so many time already.
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Completed
SaraRojas
34 people found this review helpful
Jun 30, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.5
As Princess Agents is ongoing this review will be getting updated as I go through **

So far I love this drama it's characters are aces, plot progression though slow at times is well paced with information being told at good intervals. The OST's are amazing!!!! I love how everything is timed perfectly with each scene. Good action sequences and political aspects, strategic plans, scheming, inner and outer strength growing in our characters. Character growth is also really well done. Chemistry between all the characters is elegant, anticipated and well executed. The story line so far is absolutely one of my favorite C-Dramas up to date.

Okay that's where I'm at for now. Also even though I'm not finished I can say this with 100% certainty that I will be able to re-watch this series in the future as of today I have re-seen the first episode again.

If you want thoughts/reviews/slight recaps of episodes I have them up to episode 16.

WATCH THIS SHOW. It's in no way a regret. It may have a lot of episodes but the story and actors make it go by so fast :D Give it a try what do you have to lose? (An amazing experience of a show that's what lol)

Sara Rojas JUNE 30 2017

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Completed
darcy
11 people found this review helpful
Aug 2, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 5.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 3.5
I wish I could give it a higher rating, but I just can't. It started off promising, but then the story turned into a complete mess of bad story arc choices and pacing, with irrelevant side characters given way too much screen time at the expense of main characters. Also, the end makes you feel completely cheated.

The romance was... messy. It was as if the production team couldn't decide what they were trying to film-- an historical political drama, or a romance drama, and kept flip-flopping between the two. I felt like I was watching an half-arsed political drama half the time with irrelevant characters who don't contribute to Chu Qiao's storyline at all, and an underdeveloped love triangle between Chu Xiao, Yan Xun, and Yuwen Yue the other time.

The title "Legend of Chu Qiao" is pretty much a lie. There's hints at CQ having an incredibly interesting backstory, but that's shoehorned in at random times and isn't revealed until way too late, and never utilised to make an interesting story. CQ has very little agency, and the story isn't even about her bringing down the institution of slavery. It's first about her under the command of YWY, then her under the command of YX, and trying to outsmart a bunch of YWY/YX-related people want to kill her.

Her relationship with YX could've been one of the strongest emotional arcs, and while to some extent I did think it worked, it could have been much stronger. I found CQ's romance with YWY very underdeveloped and flat for the majority of the drama, although it started off okay, and got better near the end.

In terms of acting and characters, Dou Xiao (Yan Xun), Li Qin (Chun'er), and Niu Junfeng (Yuan Song) stood out to me the most. It probably helped that their characters had complete arcs, and had significantly changed from the start to the end. DX completely stole the show for me, and his portrayal of YX from a happy-go-lucky princeling to a person filled with hate was amazing. I wouldn't say CQ didn't have a character arc, but her storyline felt like one befitting a supporting character rather than the main character-- as such, I found ZLY's performance adequate, with a few great emotional scenes, but didn't wow me in the same way as DX or LQ. In the same way, I thought Lin Gengxin was watchable, but there were no real 'wow' moments for me.

Another highlight would be Deng Lun (Xiao Ce) whose foxy prince was amazing, but unfortunately, under-utilised.

The music was great, but I don't think I'll be rewatching this drama again. There's just way too much I'll have to fast-forward through.

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Completed
Ladytears
7 people found this review helpful
Aug 3, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 5.0
i can't write a review cause all i want to do is find the director and beat him with a stick or wrench. he messed up a good drama and make us look like a ______ fill in the blank but I'm one piss off lady. Love the actors but clearly the end just looks sabotaged. I don't feel like re watching it nor do i think the overall was deserved to the director but as for the actors excellent work guys. It's the decision we make that make us great and only if this director's heart had just said let me make a 68 ep so i can clear my concision so that way i wont get the beating stick but NAhhhhh he had to be a strength up bad***

p.s
I'll re-watch it only if a season 2 is announce happy:~

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Completed
steph
9 people found this review helpful
Aug 2, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 3.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
Don't waste your time or stop before things get draggy it will be a huge disappointment in the end!
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Completed
EdwardTsai
5 people found this review helpful
Aug 13, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
Princess Agents started off as a good drama but the pacing and story telling got horrible. There were a lot of scenes that were unneeded and continued to prolong the drama. I could see the potential only if the director focused on the important things. This is why there were so many episodes and why this drama ended with a cliffhanger. You have been warned.
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Completed
pale moonlight
9 people found this review helpful
Jul 5, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
This drama started out strong, but fell apart towards the latter half.

Story: I've skimmed through a large majority of the book, so I know where the general plot is heading. I absolutely adore the novel so far; it's very well written and I personally feel that the drama has adapted mildly okay. I watch the episodes the day they air and as soon as they are uploaded because I'm super addicted to the story and can't wait to see what happens next. However, they started to focus a lot on the side characters especially towards the end, and then.........that ending LOL

Acting/Cast: Everyone's acting is on point!! I honestly watched this just for Zhao Liying but throughout these episodes I have started to grown fond for the other actors/actresses and their acting skills. Everyone's on point, even the minor characters!

Music: I personally feel that Chinese historical dramas have some of the best OST and music there is, however, this drama's OST pales a bit in comparison to other historical drama OSTs I have liked in the past. I personally love the opening and ending theme songs, as well as Yan Xun's theme song and some other instrumentals. Not too bad, and quite fitting.

Rewatch Value:
There are a lot of scenes that were quite memorable, such as Chu Qiao's long speech with Zhong Yu, Yan Xun's family's massacre, and a couple others. I would definitely rewatch my favorite scenes, but not the entire drama.

Overall:
A decent watch with a story that fell short. I really love Zhao Liying though, so I think it was still enjoyable.

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Dropped 67/67
Ngan
6 people found this review helpful
Jul 11, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Dropped 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.5
Since this drama is still going on, I decided to just make a short review. I am a sucker for dramas that are mainly about the women defending and build themselves up stronger and doesn't need to be depending on men to survive. This drama is a great example of what I was talking about. The lead actress has shown varieties of different emotions to the audience like me, she makes sometimes dislike her character for the path that she's chosen, but there was also a time when she makes her decision understandable and i would 'ah, i see why you did that'. This is a great drama if you're into the warrior, war, slow-romance, kinda drama. I would definitely re-watch this in the future.

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Completed
mz4jun
2 people found this review helpful
Aug 3, 2017
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
It had so much potential to become phenomenal but the directing/editing team just wasted all the potential with dragging later episodes and disappointing ending. It became such a disappointment when you had so much expectations for the drama with such a great premise and great casts. Like everyone who watched would say, the drama deviates so much from the synopsis which would mislead the expectations. I had expected a more action-packed female heroine-themed drama based around the spy networks. But, the spies became only a small theme of the drama while it focused and dragged so much on one sub-plot which is the revenge of Yan Xun. And the ending!! It is very clear that they gave us an open ending to keep the potential for Season 2 but seriously, can't they just give closure to us? It's not like they have well-planned to give Season 2 with all the casts back.

Well ,enough with my rants. Despite the flaws and disappointments, I still gave a very high rating because of all the feels I experienced while watching. YWY alone saved the drama. I might be biased in saying this but regardless of how tired I got from watching it dragged and dragged, I still continued watching it because of YWY and XingYue couple. Last time, I watched TMOPB, I thought Ye Hua must be the most suffering hero in all C-drama, but YWY just took the title. His love was so selfless and understanding that he does not ask for her to stay but only wants her to live happily. And of course, LGX brought YWY to life. Chu Qiao was very appealing and satisfying to watch as a female heroine who rose from slave status to a famous general in the beginning; yet, it became a subdued character in later episodes when she kept staying besides Yan Xun despite all that he has done. And the romance felt real and the two had so much chemistry that even with all the separations, every scene they are together, so much emotions felt between them.

Acting-wise, all the casts did a very great job. No one was lacking in his/her role. LGX especially stood out for me because his portrayal of YWY was majestic. ZLY, of course, did justice to her character. I didn't mention much of YX character because I wasn't a big fan of his, yet, Shawn Dou also did a great job portraying his character change.

So, to conclude, regardless of all the flaws and negative points, it was one of the great dramas this year, evidenced by the ratings and online views. I would still recommend to watch it if you are a great fan of Chinese historical/wuxia dramas and if you are a fan of either of the main leads and of course, if you can stand their pace and editing style.

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Completed
cnguyen1031
2 people found this review helpful
Jan 3, 2018
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
UPDATE: Finished a rewatch on 1/14/18. Feelings about the show overall are better, though still not the best I hoped it would be.

STORY: After rewatching, I definitely still think that the overall screenplay was lacking in a lot of places. The web novel itself definitely has a lot going on (haven't read it), but I feel like the producers didn't translate everything well on TV. There was so much going on and I was only able to understand everything better because I had already watched it through once. Overall, watching it as a whole show didn't give me as much of a dragging feeling that it gave me when I watched it while it aired - so that's definitely a bonus.

ACTING: Again, I always love Zhao Li Ying (but maybe it was from reading a few stories about her not being happy with how things progressed in the show), I felt like I really preferred her when she was still a slave. I feel like her character had much more personality and expression. Yes, the story gets much more serious in the second half, and Chu Qiao is going through a lot, but a lot of her scenes I feel seemed much more emotionless and just plain. And I LOVE ZLY and know she's a great actress, but that was one show that I feel like she didn't give it her all towards the end (again maybe it was a character progression).

Lin Geng Xin - Watching it this time through, I feel like even though YWY was cold on the exterior, I feel like LGX could have done a bit more to show emotions when the times called for it. Towards the end of the show, YWY got more sassy which I'm totally fine with, but his "romantic" scenes with CQ still felt like something was missing for me.

OVERALL: My impression of it was better than it was by the end of the first watch. Overall I still think that there were a lot of places that could be better (mostly storyline and a bit more emotion in acting) Its definitely a show I wouldn't mind watching again at a future date, but I will admit that even though there were some major aspects I didn't like, I'm PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING that they make the second season (With Zhao Li Ying of course) because I've read a few novel synopses and I need to know what happens in the rest of the story T_T.

****************


**I watched PA as it was airing over the course of a month or so, so I definitely don't remember EVERYTHING that happened, but just what I remember feeling at the end of it**

STORY:
I began watching about two weeks into the show airing, so the first 10 or so episodes I got to binge and watch all at once (my preference is to binge watch cause I don't forget what happened earlier in the show cause I would have just watched recently).
-The beginning of the story - great, fabulous, and captivating. I loved watching her learn how to be a skilled assassin (from YWY at least) and the slow relationship building between them and everyone else in her life. The bad guys were (sometimes) obnoxiously bad, but apparently that's really how things were in those times.
-By the middle of the drama (before everything with Yan Xun's family), things were still looking good. Chu Qiao/Xing Er was better trained and now actually using the skills she had learned.
-After everything that happens with Yan Xun's family (using that as the turning point), everything seemed to go downhill story wise. Suddenly everything was starting to combust and it was ridiculously hard to keep track of what was going on. (I'm honestly still not 100% sure what happened with Chu Qiao and the events before the story began (the past she forgot)). I kept watching daily to keep up with the show, but (and I'll attribute part of it to me not being able to binge it all at once) it really felt completely disorganized and it seemed to lose focus by the end of the show.
-By the middle-end half of the show, I had completely forgotten that Chu Qiao was originally Yu Wen Yue's slave and whatnot because there was just so much going on that I had forgotten the foundation of the story.

ACTING:
**I honestly don't think any of the actors were bad, but the characters lost points for me due to bad script**
-Zhao Li Ying is my favorite actress (at the moment, but at least for the next few years). Her acting is honestly always great to me. She is great at the cutesy innocent girl with a naive heart (Boss & Me). She was amazing as a hardworking and smart - though super stubborn - female (Legend of Lu Zhen). And she was great as a witty, cunning, and calculative double agent (Rookie Agent Rouge). She still excelled here for me as a trained assassin and super loyal companion in Chu Qiao Zhuan.
-Lin Geng Xin - I've only seen him in BBJX, but my friend (who I was watching the drama with) had high hopes for him, so I obviously did too. He did a decent job as Yu Wen Yue. Fairly standard "intelligent but cold" male lead. However, (and yes this is mostly due to script issues), he essentially became a background character by the second half. When he actually had screen time, it wasn't super captivating and memorable, so his character really felt lifeless to me by the second half.
-Shawn Dou - absolutely loved him in the first half as the loyal but carefree Prince, by the end he was just another character who kept abusing Chu Qiao's loyalty to him (which obviously makes me dislike him xD). Acting wise, again he did the best with what the script gave him.
**Special Shout Outs**
-Deng Lun !! - my friend was raving about him before he even made an appearance and I wasn't really sure why (hadn't seen him in anything else yet). His character was honestly great. Super awesome comedic timing and really memorable as Xiao Ce. (Loved him so much from this that I watched Because of Meeting You specifically for him).
-Niu Jun Feng (Prince Song) - Adorable in Love O2O and adorable in this too. He was great as the side character who had feelings for the main lead (but never really had a shot lol). In the later half of the series, he did a great job with the serious story lines he had to deal with.

REWATCH VALUE:
Now that the whole series is aired (and subbed) I'll honestly probably go back to rewatch it once just to a) be able to see the whole drama in entirety and maybe be able to keep up with the plot better and b) go back and see if maybe understanding the plot better will give me a better outlook on the drama and c) to listen to the soundtrack over and over (it's already downloaded onto my phone) and sing along.

I might update this once I've rewatched to see if anything changes.

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Completed
Jasmine
2 people found this review helpful
Feb 12, 2018
67 of 67 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 7.0
This is a drama that should have been everything - except it wasn't. Heavily promoted, it featured a great cast, a killer OST, featured an awesome female lead character, and was based off of a popular online novel which in recent years has pretty much meant guaranteed success. And commercially wise, I suppose it was quite successful as it broke a number of records streaming wise, but the production team pretty much failed all other aspects of storytelling.

Story
Even if you haven't watched the drama, you've probably heard some of the controversy - they essentially only took about 3/4 (maybe not even...more like a little more than a half) of the original story for the drama. Which just screams, "What in the world were they thinking?" How can anyone have greenlighted this project and said, "Hey, you know what, we're just going to end the drama on a total cliffhanger without a guarantee at all there will be a second season. Better yet, let's include a bunch of useless filler storylines to drag out the middle part of the story even more since we're not telling the whole story anyways." ??? Rule number one for drama production teams - never do multiple seasons for dramas if you have a popular cast that you haven't already bound by contract to bring back (props to the team behind Ode to Joy for  realizing this, btw) . Rule number two - if you can tell the whole story in one season, don't drag it out because it just hurts the quality.

The first half of the drama was pretty good - it features an awesome female lead who is multi-dimensional and is willing to claw her way to survive. She's not a Mary Sue - she can have moments where she seems heartless and cold, but she's also had a terrible life and thus has a different world view than most girls her age. The tone of the drama is darker than most because of the heavy material in the story, and I did enjoy that aspect. I have no idea why they added so much nonsense in the second half - for a drama that should have been moving along super fast considering how much plot it needed to cover, the pacing was ridiculously slow.

I was fascinated by the premise of the story and hated how the drama handled it, so I actually went back and read the novel, which I never do, because reading full length novels in Chinese is a bit of a chore for me. I'm glad I did though, because it filled the gaps nicely and at least I can picture in my head how this should have ended. But it also lended a different perspective to the love triangle - I'm not a fan of how the drama skewed it. If you read the novel, this should have been a tale of two loves for our lead, Chu Qiao - the first would be Yan Xun, and the second would be Yuwen Yue. However, the drama pretty much portrayed it so you would be rooting for Yuwen Yue all the way through, which I think does Chu Qiao a disservice. Part of the whole point of the story is her understanding of what love is and how it evolves over time - so that was disappointing. I'm particularly sad we didn't get to see all the cute, truly squee-worthy moments between her and Yuwen Yue becasue I think I pretty much grinned my way through the end of the novel.

But nitpicking over the depiction of the love triangle would be a moot point since the story was incomplete to begin with. Again, I have no idea who thought that would be a great idea. I don't even know if they would have enough material to cover a season 2, to be honest, without dragging things out significantly. If you enjoyed the premise of the story and can read Chinese (or find a translation), go read the novel and get yourself some closure.

Cast
What a waste of a great (young) cast - obviously this isn't one of those dramas with a stellar veteran crew, but the young(ish) leads all have some decent acting chops.

 It's amazing how far Zhao Li Ying has come in just a short number of years - she's one of a handful of actresses who stars in exclusively heroine-centric dramas (Princess Agents, Rookie Agent Rouge, Journey of Flower, the upcoming Glamorous Times and The Story of Minglan - all are stories that are centered around the female lead character and her journey). One of the biggest reasons for her success has been her versatility (despite her pixie stature and face) and the fact that she is one of the better actresses for her age group. Chu Qiao was a great role for her as it let her channel her inner female general - but again we go back to the writing - it would have been so much better if she was given the whole story to work with.

Lin Geng Xin was decent as Yuwen Yue - the stoic characters are pretty much a staple of dramaland and I don't think anyone ever does badly in this type of role - but I would like to see him take a meatier role at some point (and I do think he's capable - there's a reason why his career took off after his stint as the 14th prince in Bu Bu Jing Xin). I also think he didn't have the greatest chemistry with Zhao Li Ying, but that could have been the writing more than anything else - a lot of their interactions were way too forced, and not built in an organic manner at all.

But the standout, for sure, was Shawn Dou, who gave an incredibly memorable performance as the complicated Yan Xun. He was able to express every aspect of his character beautifully, and even in the end, after everything he's done, it's almost impossible to hate him because you still feel like he's a product of circumstance. In a world where C-dramaland is dominated by tall, attractive actors in their mid to late twenties who are, for the most part, rather acting-challenged or limited in range, it baffles me how Shawn has not taken off yet. I know he's got a couple of dramas lined up as the main lead, but they're all the typical romance/makjang fare, and I would love to see him in something of substance because he is so talented (I would love to see him work with the Daylight Entertainment team one day a la Zhang Bo).

Shoutout to Li Qin as well who was great in her role - as hard as it was to watch sometimes, she portrayed all the trials and tribulations of her spoiled princess character perfectly. Deng Lun is still really, really green to me - I don't know what it is but he always just comes off a bit awkward in his roles.

Overall
If they had just stuck to the novel material, this would have probably been one of my favorite dramas - but the decision to not film a complete drama is just absolutely baffling. If they do end up making a season 2 (and there isn't any indication that is the case yet - all three of the main leads have projects lined up for the next couple of years - not to mention the fact that some of the rising stars, like Deng Lun, have a heavily packed schedule now too), maybe some of the fury will subside from fans, but for the time being, this is an incomplete production.


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