Based off Miao Juan's novel. In Tang Dynasty, the chivalrous eldest daughter of the Assistant Minister of Revenue, Ye Yuan An, saves Mu Le, an amnesiac young man of mysterious identity. Yuan An takes Mu Le in as a family servant, and the latter swears his loyalty to her. Along with Zhao Lan Zhi, a constable, the trio solve cases after cases together. But what is Mu Le's true identity?
Cast & Credits
The plot line for this drama was honestly all over the place. I know it was based off of an IP novel, so maybe it made more sense in writing? IDK. I also know that it's supposed to be an "Odyssey" which I guess it really was, it was just such a convoluted path to get there.
The story began easily enough. Rich, young, beautiful daughter of a court official buys an amnesiac boy from a market. Girl also meets a city detective and together they solve crimes around the city with some help. Ok, cool. There's a bit of fantasy involved (obviously), but for the most part, it's relatively logical (for a Chinese drama at least xD)
Fast track to the middle of the drama, the slave boy remembers his true identity, has stolen a precious treasure, and returned to his original homeland. The female lead (IMO) has been getting more and more immature as time passes and is just downright whiney most of the time (I still love Janice Wu though). The second male lead is weirdly one of my favorites at this point in time (he's mature and brave, but still has a bit of a playful personality behind him). The fantasy aspects pick up more, and things start taking a weird turn.
By the end of the drama, we have people turning into dragons, bats, and moths. There's "soul splitting" occurring (Hey, Harry Potter), time travel (multiple times), and magical spells running amok. Relationships are fully formed by this point, and just overall there's honestly a lot going on that you somewhat get lost in the mix.
The romance is super slow burning, which isn't a problem (there are still a lot of cute moments that happen throughout), BUT my biggest issues are how they played out the various romances.
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The writers spend basically the first half of the drama with Yuan'an having a crush on Lan Zhi, (which honestly I kind of preferred because he was matured and balanced out her somewhat stubborn and child like tendencies). And at the same time, she showed that she cared for Mu Le, but wasn't really in love with him (even though other people just kept saying it to her as the writers way of making people care about Yuan' an and Mu Le's relationship). They keep this going for more than halfway through the story, up until the point that Lan Zhi is no longer an option. So basically this way, whether it's true or not, it feels like Yuan'an is only going to end up with Mu Le because she couldn't have Lan Zhi anymore. Not because she actually chose him.
And to make matters worse, it's not until after Mu Le remembers who he really is that Yuan'an and him get together (so now she not only chooses him because she doesn't have another option, but she only realizes her feelings when he's not her slave boy anymore. Cool.)
Obviously this isn't how the writers want their relationship to be portrayed - probably aiming more for a "she didn't realize until he wasn't her slave boy anymore that she was in love with him and loved him no matter what his real identity was." But honestly, I personally feel like it backfired for them because it undermined her credibility for falling for him.
Also I really disliked Ming Hui as a character for the fact that she spent the majority of the drama being an adversary to the characters and never REALLY redeemed herself (to anyone but Lan Zhi), but gets to have a happy ending by the end. Bleh.
Overall, the story made sense (I guess), but it just wasn't well paced and fluid like I would hope. You're taking your audience on this epic journey, so making things make sense and fit together is a big part of that.
Overall I think the actors were all pretty good.
Janice is very good at the cutesy and stubborn personality types, though there were a lot of times I couldn't take her seriously when she got angry and what not. (I do think it was refreshing that her character was so blunt and somewhat sarcastic. It's not super common in Chinese dramas).
Zheng Ye Cheng - very believable as the loyal and loving Mu Le. Had a very innocent charm to him. As Ah Ying, (and it might have been his age playing into it for me) but I certain times couldn't take him seriously as a powerful prince. But he was very good IMO.
Zhang Yu Jian - it might have been more of his character (kind of my type lol), but I honestly really liked him as an actor. As I mentioned, he was a very matured character with a strong sense of justice and loyalty, but he had his moments of being romantic and also being playful/flirty which balanced him out well. I personally think he was the most well rounded of characters because you saw his strengths and faults more clearly and ZYJ did a good job portraying those different parts.
Again, I didn't severely dislike this drama. I honestly think it was relatively captivating and fun to watch, BUT there were just a lot of plot issues and character problems that I wasn't a fan of, hence my lower score. It seemed to be a fairly popular drama while it aired, which I can see why, but looking at it overall, there were too many core problems I had with it for me to give it a higher score.
ACTING - Okay so despite the story being all over, I won't lie, the acting is SUPERB. Wu Qian and ZYC are the real reasons i'm still watching this. Oh and Monk Tianshu. I love them. They managed to save this drama with their acting. I love how Yua'an is a badass at times and then a scaredy cat at other times. Seeing ZYC transformation did it for me. He's SO BEAUTIFUL! I'll stop ranting now.
MUSIC - AMAZING given that the only song i paid attention too is the opening track ???????????.
REWATCH - Probably not in the nearest future
OVERALL - If you're looking for something a little bit hilarious just to pass time with, this is probably it but if you're looking for something more on the Princess Agents, Eternal love (TMOPB) Paths, then this is most likely not for you...