In the 37th year of the Wan Li Period of the Ming Dynasty, there were successive murders in the county seat of Jiangnan County. The identities of the dead were different and unrelated to each other. The corpses were arranged in bizarre poses, and there was a sentence left at the scene of each case. As the apprentice of the first victim, Xiaohu Kuaiqu Sanren cooperated with his friends to launch an investigation. With the deepening of the investigation, the three religions and nine streams, local farmers, workers and merchants of all colors appeared one after another. Amidst the fog, an old case from ten years ago surfaced. Who would the murderer be, and for what purpose? (Source: Chinese = Weibo || Translation = MyDramaList) Edit Translation
- magyar / magyar nyelv
- עברית / עִבְרִית
Where to Watch Ripe Town
Cast & Credits
Confucius' last stand.This drama is about a conspiracy that unfolds during the latter part of the Wanli reign of Ming dynasty, regarded as one of the most prosperous periods in human history. It was the beginning of the end as Wanli's indifference and administrative dysfunction led directly to the downfall of the Ming dynasty. A series of shocking serial killings in Jiangnan has the local Du County yamen scrambling for answers. Each macabrely staged corpse comes with a quote from the Analects of Confucius, a chilling message from the killer.
This is a dark story about just how difficult it is to be a decent person, much less one that lives up to.Confucian standards of morality. In a hierarchical feudal society where a scholar's voice drowns out that of a servant and the justice system takes such long detours that it fails even elite rare talents like Judge Song , many inevitably stray down the slippery path of insidious moral compromise. Most of the characters in this story start out as decent people with relatable goals of wanting to improve their lot in life, to set their one true love free, or to right a wrong. For Qu Sangeng, a young bailiff at the yamen, the killings hit too close to home. Hunting down the killer is personal for him but his investigation is hampered by his low rank and treacherous internal yamen politics. With the help of his friends, he manages to connect the killings to a 20-year old arson case where justice may have been subverted. Like his mentor Captain Leng , Sangeng resorts to somewhat questionable methods against some bad actors over the course of his investigation. He soon discovers that point where the end no longer justifies the means and all too easily that line between justice and vengeance becomes blurred. Will he choose to do what's right or succumb to his own worst instincts?
The narrative alternates between two timelines where Lu Zhi and Qu Sangeng are parallel clever characters who are slightly morally flexible and find themselves privy to secrets. Within their sphere of influence is a strong father figure, a scholarly friend and a simpler one with innately stronger moral conviction. The plot is tight and the dialogue is laced with subtle dark humor that fits well with the serious and suspenseful tone of the story. I really appreciate this as too many productions hire big name comedians with exaggerated delivery styles that are jarringly incompatible with the mood of the story. The humourous mocking of too obvious cross dressing was a 10/10 comedy gold moment for me. Mystery buffs will appreciate how the plot keeps you guessing with credible alternate theories that remain in play into the final reveal. The villains are hidden in plain sight, everyone's actions are in character, there are enough clues along the way, the solution makes sense and the ending surprise twist was long foreshadowed. My only slight criticism is some of the character downfalls occur a bit too abruptly and I think the mastermind did have the means to obtain justice in a different way. Even though the ending is fitting and realistic, none of the truly morally upstanding characters get good outcomes. At least one of the deaths was not deserved and unnecessary.
Ning Li anchors this drama as Song Chen, a dark, tortured character full of remorse; betrayed by the system into betraying himself. His heartbreaking struggle to fight monsters without becoming a monster is like watching Confucius' last stand. This character pays tribute to Tang Yin aka Tang Bohu, a renown Ming Dynasty artists and poet. The young actor Yu Yao makes an impression beyond his age with his nuanced, empathetic and chilling portrayal of the young Lu Zhi. While Qu Sangeng is not Bai Yufan's strongest role, he delivers a credible if at times forced performance. This is a wide cast of superb, non-idol actors who pull off complex and captivating portrayals with limited screen time. The bold decision to film in an ancient city and the stunning cinematographic impact of moss drenched walls and vivid rustic countryside and the authentically styled characters all add to the sense of immersion. The drama's visual composition style conveys a suspenseful ambience, a feeling of subtle decay and an air of injustice that belies the vibrant prosperity of Du County. Overall, a superb debut production by filmmaker and screenwriter Zheng Wang that eschews tired tropes. This is a director that has something to say and he tells a riveting and resonating story about justice and morality that leaves food for thought at the end.
This is one of the best ancient suspense thrillers I have watched in a long time and one that hard core mystery buffs can lose themselves in. A highly recommended 9/10 from me.
An excellent dramaRipe Town is a thoroughly watchable, neo-noir-style mystery thriller set in a prosperous rural area during the late Ming dynasty. The drama follows the investigation, by multiple official and semi-official actors, into what appears to be a ritualized serial killing spree. As the mystery plotline unfolds, so do multiple intricate backstories filled with bad behavior, conspiracy, outrageous social inequalities, and additional unsolved murders. We follow the action through a group of young sleuths (constables and their friends) connected to one of the murder victims, but other interesting characters (a brilliant but traumatized judge, prostitutes, local mobsters, well-to-do businessfolks with questionable backgrounds, and a seemingly inept magistrate) play critical roles in the action. The acting is excellent all around, and the mystery plotline is exceptionally logical, unfolds at a good pace, and is unveiled gradually so that the ultimate resolution is both eminently plausible and yet still a surprise.
It's impossible to review this drama without commenting on its superior production value, which greatly exceeds that I've seen in any comparable piece (and even that of larger-scope historical dramas). The sound, visuals, cinematography, and editing are all top-tier. It's also worth noting that this drama has a very unusual tone for a Chinese historical piece. It's very sober and ultimately quite bleak, but not oppressively so (there's a surprising amount of fairly dark but genuinely amusing humor, as well).
|Detailed Episodic summary and musings (contains major spoilers) by MsDarkqueen
|Message Clues from the Murderer (Obviously Spoilers) by PeachBlossomGoddess
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