“This floating life is but a dream. How often can life’s pleasures be enjoyed? Shi Yi, alone, is all that I ask.”

Forever & Ever ruined romance dramas for me in general since it is so beautifully written and acted. It is just very rare to find romance dramas that do not have stupid misunderstandings, petty games of push & pull, breakups and just about love, trust, loyalty and absolute understanding between two people in love. I can never stress out how wonderful and fantastic this drama is. Zhousheng Chen & Shi Yi’s relationship is really beautiful -- I rarely use this word to describe relationship in dramas but they have ‘soulmate’ kind of relationship since they can see deep into each other's souls where no words are needed to be spoken. I never seen a drama where the leads actually smile at each other as much as they smile to each other here -- they look totally in love, smitten and extremely blessed to be at each other's company. And this drama is actually better with each rewatch since the love & romantic details in it are really amazing.


THE ESSENCE OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP

I love that the essence of their love did not change at all despite both of them has different personalities than their previous life in One & Only. Shi Yi will fall first and Zhousheng Chen took time but when he did, she can feel it in her bones despite his love being silent. Reincarnation works that way in all reincarnation dramas. The soul is the same, but the personalities are different but destined souls will be attracted to each other despite this -- thats why they will fall with each other again regardless of they are having memories or not. You can see how Shi Yi have this strong desire to approach Zhousheng Chen at the airport despite she has never done it before. And for him, he was indifferent towards all girls but he gave his email to her surprisingly. 

And the most important of all, they found calm & tranquility with each other just like in One & Only -- the same calmness and safety. That is why when everything else is failing him (like his family), he always find her, since she gave him the comfort just like Shi Yi found the comfort in Zhousheng Chen in One & Only. They are still one heart and mind -- in fact stronger since now, no explanation needed as they trust each other unconditionally.

And both of them really gets each other. They really knows and understands each other in some fundamental ways. For Shi Yi for an example, all Zhousheng Chen's socially awkward and shy personality to his weird antics -- are the aspects that made her love him because they're what make him who he is. She doesn’t want to change him as she love him just as he is and vice versa. Their relationship is not just about physical beauty but they're about really seeing deeply into each other’s souls. Their attraction is based on trust and understanding. I love that their internal monologue would be like; 'I should hug her. She would also want me to hug her' which I find interesting since Zhousheng Chen completely understand what Shi Yi wants. Even when they moved to Xi'an, the house that he bought and the furnitures in it are based on Shi Yi's preference even when she is not there to tell him. They have this 'Us against the world' mentality so adversities only make them closer instead of the other way around.


THE FUNDAMENTAL OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP

"Most people see the skin and not the beauty of the bones." – and their relationship is not just bonding on the physical aspect but bonding of the soul.

Both One & Only and Forever & Ever explored both Zhousheng Chen & Shi Yi’s relationship with this fundamental core. The 'bonding of the soul' -- something that can’t be seen from the surface but both of them see each other’s' soul for who they truly are. That’s why when some people complained that they couldn't understand why someone as gorgeous as Shi Yi could be attracted to someone socially awkward and nerdy like Zhousheng Chen, it is exactly what the drama wants to achieve -- Shi Yi sees his beautiful bones instead of his skin and see the beautiful man he is from the inside and fall in love with that part of him. It was meant to be portray that way.

Forever & Ever particularly explore this theme to the fullest. Lots of people just see the drama from the surface, thus passing it merely as fluff but once they actually see each scene on what the writer actually intended to tell, they are just gonna be surprise with how full of depth is their story -- whether in the past or the present.

Take for an example the many scenes that shows how people view Zhousheng Chen -- from the security guard that thought of him as an unemployed bum to his student assistants who thought of him as a poor professor -- did he care for all of these wrong assumptions? Not at all and he didn’t even bother to correct them. He didn’t care what anyone think of him. But when it comes to Shi Yi, its totally a different story. When she show him the ring that Weng Chuan gave her as a sign of cheating, the first thing that he said; 'Do you want me to tell you more about my relationship with Tong Jiaren?' to clear the misunderstanding right away. Or when he didn’t care if Uncle Lin teases him about his driving, but when Uncle Lin talked about his driving in front of Shi Yi, he automatically need to justify himself. It shows that in his heart, only her matters while he doesn’t mind the world crumbles as long as she is with him.

Or the part she is the secret in his heart that he wants to keep only to himself. This too was explored in both dramas. First in One & Only, when he wrote her name on the dusty furniture -- to show that she is the secret in his heart that no one knows. And again in Forever & Ever, he is still the same guy, who is shy to publicly show his affection or tell anyone about Shi Yi even to his best friend Mei Xing. Why? Because she is so precious that he wants to keep her only in his heart without sharing it with anyone. But everyone around him know how important she is to him and how it drives him crazy when she is sick or hurt.


CONNECTION BETWEEN THE PAST & PRESENT

I also love how the writer connect the past and the present -- from something simple as drying of Shi Yi’s hair to helping her changing shoes which both happened in One & Only and Forever & Ever.

To the part where Zhousheng Chen taught Shi Yi Guqin in One & Only and gifted her the Guqin factory in Forever & Ever. Or he gifted her tea all over the place in One & Only and gifted her Tea House in Forever & Ever.

Or something big like he guard the whole city for her safety in One & Only and he sent someone to protect her when she went back from Germany in Forever & Ever.


REVERSAL OF LOVE DYNAMICS

I also enjoyed the reversal of their love dynamics in both dramas that in One & Only, Zhousheng Chen used to be Shi Yi's rock who console and give her tranquility when she faced difficult times while in Forever & Ever, it was Shi Yi's time to be his rock, the one where he finds her whenever his family make him sad or disappointed to the death of Wei Xing which almost broke him.

Due to Zhousheng Chen’s unjust & cruel death in One & Only, the universe is rewarding him with this lifetime's full of love from the one he truly loves. That is why despite they have nothing on them at the airport, the security stopped them so they could meet each other. The sky also clear for them so that they could have their first date at Azure Dragon Temple at Xi’an.


LOVE MESSAGES

In the drama, it seemed it is Shi Yi who first to say ‘I love you’ but actually it is Zhousheng Chen with the 1 Yen coin from year 2011 (2011 -- 'Love You Shi Yi', and the 1 Yen refers to how she's his one & only).

Or how their wedding anniversary is May 11th which literally means 'I (Zhousheng Chen), Shi Yi's' anniversary.

Or the Croc that he wore with ‘SY 520’ which means ‘Shi Yi, I Love You.’


ZHOUSHENG CHEN’S SILENT LOVE

One of the greatest thing about Zhousheng Chen is his silent love. Like he will always do things silently -- never expecting anything in return but Shi Yi could always feel his love despite he never mention it -- whether in this life or their past life.

For an example, a simple scene like showing him paying their dinner together with his student at Xi'an where no one know except his assistant. Looking from the surface, it seemed like a filler scene but its actually to show his selfless and sincerity personality since everyone in the room thought his assistant is buying and he didn’t even ask for a receipt to claim later.

Or how he literally gave her a star (meteorite) just like the famous Chinese poem of 'to grab the stars from the sky for the person you love.' He simply just give her the watch without context until his Germany bestfriend told the full story to Shi Yi.

I love how the writer and director chose to portray Zhousheng Chen’s love that you can truly passed it as something insignificant because Shi Yi didn’t even know most of them. Like him calling her taxi at Xi'an -- even when he could tell her that it was him who did it, but he didn’t when she thought this nice gesture is from his assistant and not from him. Or how he helped the injured delivery guy -- he could tell her how he helped him (in the later episode) which will expose how he drove all night just to see her that day and again, he didn’t. Or the pomegranate scene that he passed as something he found on the street when in fact we as an audience knew the length that he go through for something that she said in her sleep.

Or something big like how he sent someone to protect her when she went back from Germany since he feels she is in danger to asking Xiao Ren to accompany her at the Old Town – both instances, Shi Yi never knew.

She once asked him how would she know he did all this if he never tell her but he said he simply did it out of love so it didn’t matter whether she know it or not -- exactly just like Zhousheng Chen from the past.

This is not including the one that Shi Yi can see like the wedding cards or the wedding lanterns. I think no other drama actually show this much romantic details in their story -- I find it truly captivating.


SHI YI’S LOVE & AGENCY

Some people misunderstood Shi Yi since she seemed to agree with everything when it comes to Zhousheng Chen. Its not that she didn’t have agency but she understood him to the core. Like she didn’t have to protect herself or fight for her rights, because she know he will do it for her -- since he will never ask her to do something that she didn’t like or uncomfortable with. Like she know she didn’t have to move for him after the wedding, since he will move for her. Their relationship is actually rather fascinating in this aspect - a complete trust and understanding of each other.

He can’t come home as initially planned, she totally understands it. Need to leave early while they are in the middle of dating, she's cool with it too. Not because she's a pushover, but she knows that despite of anything, she is #1 in his heart -- a real mature understanding that reflect her state of mind.

Like we know she will do the cooking since it is her passion but in the drama, all we see is him cooking for her. Its not she has no agency or power since from actions and everything else, it is him most of the time who accommodate her. From something as simple as those coupling outfits he has to wear to important decision makings that they need to make.

Zhousheng Chen may not remember anything (unlike Shi Yi) but everything that he did in Forever & Ever is the things he regrets and couldn't give her in One & Only. That is why, he is my favorite romantic lead in any drama because his love is sincere, pure and did not ask anything in return -- its okay if she never knew what he did as long as she feel his love and that is all matters to him.

Thank you so much for doing this. This drama is indeed better with each rewatch. I find their love story is really beautiful and you explained it splendidly.

And agreed so much on ZSC's silent love. The first time I watch the drama, I mostly missed how significant are all those scenes. All the things that he did to SY wasnt meant for her to find out since that's who he is. He protect her silently like ZSC from the past. I was so impressed with how the writer connect these 2 characters together in this 2 dramas.

I also want to add the message in SY's phone number 13141152099  which means 'Forever and ever, ShiYi, I love you, for eternity.'

You are amazing in taking time to write all these details especially the ML's silent love. Like you said, some people just passed it as something insignificant but it is actually the most important part of his character.

And those messages using the numbers. This drama just has more and more special things about it. I'm totally charmed by all of this.

 asmahaisha:
You are amazing in taking time to write all these details especially the ML's silent love. Like you said, some people just passed it as something insignificant but it is actually the most important part of his character.

Yes, you are right. I have never seen any character been purposely written this way before where most of the things he did are not known by the FL right until the end -- it just part of what makes him who he is. Usually, all these silent/hidden things will be revealed later during revelation/emotional scenes to show the depth of his love but not Zhousheng Chen. He is purposely written by the writer to emit this silent love but Shiyi can felt it in every fibre of her body -- thats the most amazing thing about the whole thing. The level of thought being put by the writer in constructing these 2 characters are just fantastic and full of depth and layers.

Anyone find another cdrama similar to this?  Something pure romance?

 Jenai:

Anyone find another cdrama similar to this?  Something pure romance?

There is a lot of dramas that base on pure romance in Cdramas. But romance dramas that have these many details and substance in the characters and story is rare and what set One & Only and Forever & Ever apart from other romance dramas out there.

For an example, the circumstances in both dramas are the same as all characters are being presented with the same problems but the way they handled it what makes the outcome different for them this time around. For an example, Zhousheng Chen in One & Only chose loyalty and peace (which is for the greater good at that time) to support the Child Emperor from afar instead of him taking over the country but the outcome is tragic for both of him and Shiyi. But in Forever & Ever, he chose to take over the family business despite the oppositions of many people and only give it to Xiao Ren once he is an adult. Both situations are a mirror to the past and the present.

We also can see how Mei Xing (the Crown Prince's reincarnation from the past) get everything that he is jealous of Zhousheng Chen in the past be it good look, healthy body or admiration -- basically everything he is envy of. Yet, Shiyi still didnt look at him and still attracted to the present Zhousheng Chen who is now socially awkward, shy and have gained a bit of weight. Why? Because she is always see his good bones (inner beauty) -- on how gentle he is, how kind he is or how compassionate he is. It was never his outer beauty for her, as she is always see him from the inside.

So, if you want romance dramas like Forever & Ever which have this kind of depth in the story, I cant give you any.

However, if you actually just want to watch pure romance story that do not have stupid misunderstandings or petty love games like Forever & Ever, maybe you can check something like You Are My Glory, You Are My Hero or anything from the same writer of One & Only and Forever & Ever -- Road Home, Love Me Love My Voice or Amidst a Snowstorm of Love. All this 3 dramas have the same calm, relaxing and soothing romance formula like Forever & Ever.  Not exactly in the same league as some of them I do find very superficial, but they do have the same vibe and aura like Forever & Ever. 

Thank you, beautifully written, a complete understanding of both characters in both time periods.  I felt their love in my heart.  The writers did a spectacular job for these characters.  The actor brought them to life.

loved this! and fully agree -- thank you so much!