Currently Watching: Siege in Fog 人生若如初相见
**Precursor: there are only about 13 episodes subbed so far, so this article is based on what I've seen in those first episodes**
Normally, I avoid watching currently airing dramas for a few reasons:
1) You have to wait in between episodes and I much prefer binging a whole series at once.
2) Many dramas (specifically Chinese) have the tendency to be GREAT at the beginning and start slacking towards the last portion of the show, so it's hard to get invested in something to have it let you down in the last leg.
3) You don't know if a show is worth your time or not because there aren't enough people who have seen it and have good opinions about it.
Regardless of all those points, Siege in Fog is one of the dramas that I don't think I can wait to be fully subbed before I watch it.
The drama itself was filmed in 2016 but didn't begin airing until this past March, so a LOT of people have been waiting for it to finally air. Currently, there are about 13 episodes subbed so far (on Dailymotion), but Viki has picked up the license to broadcast it (though it'll be a while before the whole series is subbed).
Set in the early 1900s, after the fall of the Qing Dynasty: Siege in Fog follows the story of a young girl, Qing Sang (played by Sun Yi), who meets the third youngest son of a powerful general, Yi Lian Kai/Lan Po (played by Elvis Han). Yi Lian Kai falls for Qing Sang upon meeting her and does everything in his power to obtain her - though she is completely against it because she is harboring feelings for an old lover from her school days.
The actual drama begins about 2 years into Qing Sang and Yi Lian Kai's marriage (which honestly confused me at first since I thought I jumped into the middle of the drama) and begins with an event that rocks the Yi family's lives. It sets in motion the major family power struggles and builds on the main leads' relationship as they deal with the political and familial strife that follows.
**Bonus Fact: During this time period it was common for powerful family members to have their official name and a "family name". Yi Lian Kai - formal, Lan Po - family name. So far, the three brothers of the Yi family have been shown to have two names.
More information about this is available by Productive Procrastination (who is also credited with subbing the first 13 episodes that are available) **
What really intrigues me about this drama is that it at least feels really different from the get-go. While there are many details that will feel similar to other dramas and stories that have been told; everything has a bit of a twist that makes it feel refreshing and new.
- The youngest child, who very few think highly of, wants to prove himself within his family and show that he's more than what people think - really he's always been smart and capable, but didn't want to overshadow his older siblings.
- The female lead is quiet and demure on the surface, but in actuality is very clever and strong headed - not willing to cave to everything and anything that is expected of her.
- There are multiple powerful families/militaries involved and you don't really know who has the upper hand throughout the drama.
- There's a good balance between relationship plots, political strife, and family issues (from what I've seen so far).
The Characters and Relationships
I feel like as most viewers go - the relationships between characters are one of the most (if not THE most) important aspect. As thrilling as a plot could be or as great as the writing might be, it's the people - the characters and the actors - that make dramas memorable and worth watching.
So far, there are already tons of relationships portrayed in Siege in Fog, which can really be a bit confusing at times, but no fear, I'm here to break down some of the basics for you.
(Bonus: One of the most fun parts about period dramas are the outfits, so it's a lot of fun to see the actors dressed in both Chinese and Western styles as was custom for 1900s early China)
- Qing Sang - the female lead; young and reserved - because of various events in her life she gave up on her old ideals and married into the Yi family (2 years before the start of the show); very stubborn personality, but very loyal to those around her.
- Yi Lian Kai - the 3rd and youngest son of the Yi family; a rich playboy who only knows how to play around and have fun; in reality very clever and smart.
- Pan Jian Chi - Qing Sang's old love and Yi Lian Kai's new assistant; skilled fighter and soldier
- Yi Lian Shen - the 2nd son of the Yi family, a strong military general who is expected to take over as the head of the Yi family ("Small general" - Xiao Shuai of the Yi family military)
- Yi Lian Yi - the eldest son of the Yi family; very smart and loved by his family - but was crippled after falling off a horse when he was younger
- Feng Yan Yun - Yi Lian Shen's wife and daughter of Feng Zhi Heng (the military strategist for the Yi family)
- Min Hong Yu - high-class call girl (of sorts); is known for her many connections to different parties both politically and in the military
- Yi Ji Pei - head of the Yi family, father of the three Yi brothers; high general of the Yi family militia ("Big General" - Da Shuai)
There are obviously tons of other characters involved, which would take forever to all talk about.
Why Should You Watch?
Honestly, this is not a drama to watch in the background. There is a LOT going on (politics, family affairs, etc.) that you need to pay attention to understand. However, in spite of that, it's really just intriguing to watch.
The main leads so far have this very tense and at times antagonistic relationship which is fun to watch because they are already married at the start of this drama, so they are obviously forced to interact with one another. Even as much as Qing Sang dislikes Yi Lian Kai, you start to see the budding romance between the two and can appreciate that they really fall in love (later in the series) because of everything they've endured together.
The ongoing political/military struggles portrayed in the drama makes it fun (and frustrating) to watch because it keeps things from being all sappy romance or just a family power struggle.
The time period (the early 1900s) in general is one that isn't overly covered in Chinese dramas, so it creates this sense of wonder and curiosity to see what life would have been like at the time (a blend of traditional Chinese customs and the slow but steady entrance of Western influence in China).