Female assassin Ren Ru Yi, the former left envoy of the Scarlet Guards, becomes a member of the Wu's State's escort delegation to save the King of Wu who has been taken hostage by the State of An. Together with Ning Yuan Zhou, the leader of the Wu State's Six Realms Hall, the free-spirited Yu Shi San, Princess Yang Ying, clever teen Yuan Lu and the imperial guard Qian Zhao, they experience love, life, death, and grow together. (Source: iQiyi) Edit Translation
- magyar / magyar nyelv
- עברית / עִבְרִית
Where to Watch A Journey to Love
Cast & Credits
Now THIS is a badass Female Lead!I’ve been waiting for a FL like this for so long but time and time again we get immature, cringy and FLs that are prone to making wacky decisions.
I’m at episode 14 and let me tell you - She is perfect. She is fierce, decisive, skilled, stunning and elegant. Everything she did just made sense. If she keeps this up she’ll be my favorite character of all time.
The leads have amazing chemistry and the team + Princess are SO lovable!! I can’t wait for more episodes.
Even with the wonky pacing after episode 34, it is still my favorite Wuxia and Ruyi is STILL is my favorite character of all time. The love story is deep, mature, sexy and romantic. The brotherhood is strong. Character growths were abundant and I fell in love with each of the characters. With this show, it’s definitely about the journey.
Drink the finest wines, look at lovely girls, make the best friends, and fight glorious battles.Spymaster Ning Yuanzhou and his elite Liudao Tang spies are tasked to escort a Wu diplomatic delegation to An to pay a king's ransom for their captured ruler. He encounters the stunning and deadly Ren Ruyi, a vengeance driven assassin nonpareil who defected from An. They have overlapping goals and form a wary alliance. Predictably, these aging-out, disillusioned operatives from opposite sides fall in love and indulge in a mid-life crisis amidst a suicide mission to rescue the foolish Wudi. This is an unexpectedly funny drama and the humor works well but masks the monumental task ahead of the delegation. Its best achievement is it makes us fall in love with a motley crew of unforgettable, flawed characters to the point we root for them against all odds and beyond reason.
This is a rare drama where I am more invested in the supporting cast than the main leads. Written by a feminist writer, Ren Ruyi is literally superwoman; independent, ruthless and indomitable; an indestructible one woman killing machine with fantasy level combat abilities. Ning Yuanzhou also walks on water; a master spy whose machinations decide who sits on the thrones of both states. Together they are so formidable that it seems more efficient to skip the mission or war as they can easily topple any ruler in their way. These over the top character designs with exaggerated abilities and superficial flaws rarely resonate with me. But I did derive petty enjoyment from their bitch slapping, scolding and kicking ass through the two kingdoms.
The casting of Liu Yuning and Liu Shishi in the leading roles is brilliant. While there are better actors, these roles play to their individual strengths and they both executed well. Liu Yuning plays a character that hides in plain sight. A too pretty actor would not work in this role. And Ren Ruyi the stone cold killer is perfectly reflected in Liu Shishi's stoic expressionless face and bright hard eyes. Even as she becomes less guarded and warms up to the delegation, there is bare of relaxation of her taut features; every frown and smile is controlled. Her head is at an exhausting elevated angle that made me wonder if she has frozen shoulder. Even her grief is so beautiful in a restrained way that I was unaffected, even mildly irritated at her cry scenes. Such an aloof portrayal made their chemistry seem decent but did not light up the screen . So it didn't matter to me if they made it out at the other end. As fully realized characters that live and die by the sword, they know the score. Their romance peaks too early, had few true obstacles and repetitive fan service sweet nothings moments . The heavy handed messaging about women's biological clocks annoyed me.
The more interesting characters are the young ones, Yang Ying and Li Tongguang, both on heroes journeys. He Landou delivers a inspiring portrayal of an uncertain young princess completely in over her head, overcoming fear, heartbreak and every obstacle to emerge as a purposeful person with the the courage of her convictions. At surface Li Tongguang appears to be a fascinating character; strong, smart, ambitious and charming. Unfortunately he has a dark side, an odd and creepy Oedipus complex for his shifu. Part of the problem is this narrative doesn't invest in villains; most antagonists are killed off so quickly they leave no impression. Thus Li Tongguang becomes the default fall guy; whenever something bad has to happen to create angst or move the plot along, it is pinned on him. Nonetheless the role is well played enough that I had a soft spot for the character throughout.
Saving the best for last, Fang Yilun's Yu Shisan stole the show as far as I am concerned. I love flawed, humorously self-aware, very mortal characters like this with no special powers or death defying abilities. Hopefully Fang Yilun's amazing comedic expression and timing gets noticed. His shock and aghast at the idea he was falling in love made me shake with laughter and moved me unaccountably at the same time. When he prosaically warns his love not to fall for a rogue like him, I knew she was as much a lost cause as I was. Shisan is the unsung hero of this story. He picks up the slack so that Yuanzhou can rescue Ruyi and was there for Qian Zhou, Sun Lang and Yuan Lu through the last legs of their mission. He remained true to his life's mantra to live fully with no regrets: drink the finest wine, look at lovely girls, make the best friends, and fight glorious battles. / 这辈子就要喝最烈的酒, 看最美的姑娘, 交最好的朋友, 打最漂亮的仗. It is too bad he did not dare to or did not believe he had the right to love and thus denies his heart to finish the job. If I could have changed just one thing, I would have had Shisan leap on to that horse along with his love. The other flawed character I enjoyed immensely is Wudi. After Shisan, he made me laugh hardest, especially during the great escape. He also moved me with his profound regret and intent do better.
This drama has a linear plot that is not well paced; it either advances at a high speed that glosses over logic holes or stalls out to dwell on repetitive romantic or delusional tropes. The harder you look at the plot, the less it makes sense. As it is more of a character story, I am willing to be forgiving as long as important characters are not destroyed along the way. In that aspect, the drama starts out exceptionally well with a fantastic core of well conceived, multi-layered and compelling characters. Unfortunately, the character designs start to break down quite early on, with Li Tongguang. The ending was rushed, had some sloppy edits and packs in an unnecessary Wu arc. Too many characters are destroyed into the finale including Ruyi and Yuanhou. Ruyi prioritizes her personal agenda, bites off more than she can chew (again) and had to be rescued (again); forcing Yuanzhou to choose his love over his mission. Consequently they were not there when Liudao Tang needed them most. Finally, Ruyi makes a decision that is not true to herself or to her beliefs about living well. After investing so much on Li Tongguang, this character has no development and mucks everything up in the finale. The ending was was bloodier than I expected and unnecessarily cruel. I didn't have a huge issue with the outcome in and of itself, just the figurative character assassinations.
As for the ending scene, upon re-watch, I realized it is not confusing, it simply pays homage to the meaning of the drama's title Yī Niàn Guān Shān / 一念关山 or A Thought of Guanshan and closes the drama on a note of finality. It is a line from an ancient poem 却东西门行/But the East West Gate written by Shen Yue during the Northern and Southern dynasties. It is a sad poem reflecting on life, the passage of time and destiny. Guanshan/ 关山 refers to memories spanning the mountains and rivers (meaning the far reaches of the empire); of past events joyful and sorrowful. It is an Auld Lang Syne moment where someone who lived on longs for the bygone years and lost friends. It is unnecessarily cruel to close the story with a character that was meant to move on with their life. The bigger point is everyone they are thinking of did not make it out at the other end. The ending to me is not ambiguous.
I enjoyed many parts of this drama which started out as an 8.5 for me but there were draggy parts, key characters got destroyed, all the holes become obvious with re-watch and the ending is just not good. It is still a wonderful watch with lovable characters, fabulous fight scenes and divine comedy. I am just petty and I won't forgive them for Yu Shisan. My final rating is 8/10.
ENDING SPOILER COMMENTS
The final scene is actually very clear.:
Ten years later, the countries are at peace. He County which was the frontier battleground is prosperous and thriving; children are well schooled but the naughty ones sneak out to play. Chu Yue visits the battleground which with a decade of peace is covered with grass. She takes a moment to think of the past, of everyone that sacrificed and imagines either what could have been or that they are in another place. Her fantasy doesn't have to make complete sense because it is just her imagination. The child she sees on the horse is not the same younger child that sneaks out of school. Ning Shisan on the horse is older, with loose hair in a pure white outfit. Chu Yue should not be in this scene. Shisan denied his heart to set her free. He saved her and meant for her to go on, to love and live life with no regrets. It enraged me that they did this to poor Chu Yue and it would have broke Shisan to see her like this.
Ruyi should have been in that end scene, possibly with a son and a daughter. She could have escaped and remained true to her promise to Yuanzhou to go on without him, that a woman can live well without love. The drama foreshadowed many times that she would be last woman standing and yet they both literally and figuratively killed her character when she chose to blow herself up after assassinating the Beipan king and prince. Ruyi had a choice and the one she made sends all kinds of wrong messages to women everywhere. The only woman who remained true to herself was Yang Ying. She moved on, made the best of her situation and lived well regardless. If Ruyi had to die, the end scene should have closed with Yang Ying instead of Chu Yue.
I also think they should not have killed off Wudi. The team put themselves in harms way to bring him back; he learned some hard lessons and would have been a much a better ruler for it. They killed him off so that Yuanzhou could play kingmaker. It was a rushed, completely dumb, ridiculous and gratuitous Wu subplot that negates poor Qian Zhou and Chai Ming's sacrifice. I could go on but these are some of the main reasons I am so let down by the ending.
|A Journey To Love - Notes on production location, dates, cast, characters, and more by Frost_edelweiss
|A Journey to Love Fanvids / FMVs by Coffee Lover01
|A Journey to Love OST with ENG SUBS by Peachey Blossom
|IQIYI episode links by Veninum