One of my guilty pleasures is watching Chinese Dramas set in the olden days especially those set in the Han, Tang, Song, Ming, and Ching dynasties. Watching those dramas makes me forget all the pressures of modern life and brings me back to my high school and college days where I watched them all the time. One of the reasons I particularly like them is because they do not contain profanity, violence, and are generally wholesome with the bad guys getting their just desserts. And don’t forget romance, the kind that females generally love as Chinese Dramas mainly cater to the female audience. Really after all the disturbing scenes from the current season of Game of Thrones, Chinese Dramas are a much needed cleanse. [Below image via wikiaddicts]
Jin Yu Liang Yuan started it’s run on 4/21/2014 and it is a fairly enjoyable drama. However it would be a great drama if they condensed the story into 20 episodes instead of dragging it out to 45 because I was bored out of my mind after episode 15 and only wanted to finish recapping it or else I would be fast forwarding it like crazy.
My recaps are just an overview of the episodes. For Part II of my recaps click here.
Episode 1, 2, 3, Recap: We are introduced to the OTP in the very first episode. Jin Yuanbao, the only son of the very rich and powerful Jin family, is a famed inspector working the capital during the Ming Dynasty. He meets Yu Qilin who is disguised as a male while trying to capture a bad guy. During their encounter Yu Qilin finds out that Jin Yuanbao is the only son of the deceased General Jin. As soon as Yu Qilin hears that, she tries to peel off his clothes (this is to verify if he has a crescent birthmark on his body). When she doesn’t succeed, she follows him to a brothel where he is further investigating the case because he thinks there is more perpetrators than just the bad guy he captured. Follow more comedy and more unsuccessful attempts at getting his clothes off. During this time the dowager empress issues a royal edict ordering a marriage between Jin Yuanbao and the prime minister’s daughter Jiang Xiao Xuan.
Neither Jin Yuanbao or Jiang Xiao Xuan want to marry each other as they have never seen each other. But Jiang Xiao Xuan is made to travel to the capital anyway. She agrees because she plans to run away and marry her true love who also lives in the capital. The night before their wedding Jin Yuanbao sets out to tell Jiang Xiao Xuan that their marriage is to be in name only and to be dissolved at a later date when the dowager empress no longer needs their marriage to secure the crown for her eldest grandson. Too bad he was telling this to Yu Qilin who is masquerading as Jiang Xiao Xuan because the real Jiang Xiao Xuan has already ran away at this point. Yu Qilin is going through with this pretense because she will finally be able to take of Jing Yuan Bao’s clothes on their wedding night.
We also find that Liu Wen Zhao (older maternal cousin of Jin Yuanbao) and the 2nd imperial prince have shady dealings with each other which they do not want Jin Yuanbao to find out. In addition the prince wants Liu Wen Zhao to kill Jiang Xiao Xuan to prevent the marriage from happening because he wants to be the emperor. Liu Wen Zhao doesn’t succeed as Yu Qilin who is now masquerading as Jiang Xiao Xuan has kung fu and is able to ward off his attacks.
Madam Jin (mother of Jin Yuanbao) is aware that her son might want to keep the marriage in name only and has her trusty servant slip him a potion on the night of the wedding that will make Jin Yuanbao want to bed his new wife. Too bad on their wedding night a series of hijinks ensues with Jin Yuan Bao thinking he has bedded Jiang Xiao Xuan, but he really didn’t instead he was knocked out by her instead. Jiang Xiao Xuan meanwhile has no luck in finding her love and was targeted by a bad guy who almost succeeds in raping her but was saved by Gu Chang Feng, who is the son of Madam Jin’s trusty servant. We are also introduced to Liu Qian Qian who is the sister of Liu Wen Zhao and Jing Yuanbao’s cousin who wants to marry Jin Yuanbao, and is sure to be a source of trouble for our OTP later on.
Episode 4, 5, 6, Recap: So now our OTP is married and we get a bit more insight into their personalities. We find that Jin Yuanbao doesn’t like people touching him, in fact none of his servants has ever helped him take a bath. Yu Qilin is still dead set on stripping off the clothes off of Jin Yuanbao to check to see if he has the crescent mark and she finally succeeds after a few funny attempts. Oh and Jin Yuanbao finds out that he didn’t bed Yu Qilin after all which comforts him as the marriage can still be annulled.
A tradition in Chinese marriages is that the bride will bring the groom home for a visit after the wedding is over and Yu Qilin uses that as an excuse to drag Jin Yuanbao home to meet her adoptive mother who is Jin Yuanbao’s real mom. They leave the capital with great fanfare and lots of servants to see them off to Nanjing.
However the 2nd prince still wants them dead and orders Liu Wen Zhao to kill them. You can tell that Liu Wen Zhao doesn’t really want to but follows orders. Liu Wen Zhao sets up several ambushes but fails in his attempts to kill the OTP. The OTP’s manage to escape the ambushes and are off by themselves with no servants, no horse and no carriage. Along the way the OTP spends some time together and get to know each other slightly better. They have an accidental kiss while tumbling down the mountainside. This episode also emphasizes the differences in the OTP’s in that Yu Qilin has great kungfu, is strong enough to piggyback Jin Yuanbao, and eats peasant fare such as large intestines. Jin Yuanbao has lived the high life and expects the best of the best and throws up when eating the large intestines. But he does seem to be intelligent and not mean spirited.
The secondary pairing between Jiang Xiao Xuan and Gu Chang Feng looks promising as Gu Chang Feng did save Jiang Xiao Xuan for which she is very grateful. Grateful enough to drink whatever medicine he shoves towards her which makes him very happy to finally have a patient who listens to his advice and thinks that he is a good doctor. Apparently nobody else thinks so.
Episode 7, 8, 9, Recap: These couple of episodes is quite entertaining in that I found myself paying full attention instead of doing chores while watching. In fact Jin Yuanbao is really growing on me. I like that he is highly intelligent and walks the moral high ground. When Yu Qilin stole some buns because she saw that he was hungry, he refused and went back to the bun stall to trade his rich clothes for food. I originally thought he was a playboy of some sort but he is actually showing that he has good instincts and definitely smarter that Yu Qilin who is too hot headed. His brains saved them when the people who were rowing their boat were actually those out to get them which leads to him and Yu Qilin falling out of the boat and Yu Qilin having to rescue him once again since he can’t swim. And she has to give him mouth to mouth, which he then accuses her of trying to take advantage of him and then pulls her in for another mouth to mouth session claiming that he is doing it to pay her back as he doesn’t like to be taken advantage of. This is probably the turning point in their relationship where you see that Yu Qilin is starting to see him as a man and he starts showing that he isn’t as immune to her charms as he claims.
Jin Yuanbao and Yu Qilin part ways after he tricks her into letting him tie her up. Unfortunately without her by his side, he gets captured by Liu Wen Zhao’s men. Luckily he is smart enough to escape but Yu Qilin comes to rescue him any way which resulted in both of them being captured. But our hero is smart and he ultimately saves the day and they are on their way to Yu Qilin’s adoptive mother’s tavern. Jin Yuanbao mistakes it for another trap and feels really guilty after finding out that it isn’t so. Cue playful moments. After finding out that Jin Yuanbao is very happy living his life the way it is, his real mother ultimately decides against telling him the truth and sends them back on their merry way back to the capital. But it looks like the bad guys caught up to them once again this time, but this time the men that Madame Jin (Jin Yuanbao’s mother) sent out searching for them arrived as well and so all ends well for our OTP. Liu Wen Zhao was also at the scene and “saved” Yu Qilin from getting stabbed which results her in thinking well of him. But Jin Yuanbao knows better and suspects that Liu Wen Zhao has played a huge part in all this mess but keeps it to himself.
Jin Yuanbao is beginning to care for Yu Qilin because he defended her in front of his mom and he was jealous that Yu Qilin prepared medicine for Liu Wen Zhao. Even though he may put down Yu Qilin’s looks, personality, figure, and brains in front of her. He does like that fact that she is different because it is what makes him interested in her as opposed to every other girl he has met previously.
Our second OTP has quite a bit of scenes in episodes 7-9 with Jiang Xiao Xuan asking Gu Chang Feng to look for her cousin Li (her cousin and the guy who promised he would marry her). Gu Chang Feng found cousin Li, but he is already married to a woman who bullies him quite a lot. When Jiang Xiao Xuan sees it for herself that cousin Li is finally married, she is quite heartbroken but not to worry as Gu Chang Feng will take good care of her.
Episode 10, 11, 12, Recap: Our OTP is beginning to realize their feelings for each other. Episode 10 starts off with Jin Yuanbao getting jealous that Yu Qilin is applying medicine on the injured Liu Wen Zhao and offers to do it in her place. Instead he ends up making a mess and walking off in a huff. Later in their bedroom, he order Yu Qilin to write down who she sees and what she does every day and makes her sleep on the floor because she was in Liu Wen Zhao’s room. But after seeing her sleep peacefully on the floor he drags her back up to sleep next to him on the bed but puts a pillow barrier in the middle and warning her not to cross. His excuse is that if she catches a cold on the floor she will pass it on to him. The next morning we see Yu Qilin staring at him after she wakes up and he pinned her down but nothing happens though we see Yu Qilin being happy with the skinship. More OTP cuteness when Yu Qilin dons on a disguise as the prostitute Chu Chu to help Jin Yuanbao solve the case he was investigating in Episode 1. Also another almost kiss but the servant interrupts them. Jin Yuanbao also discovers that he may in fact be falling in love with Yu Qilin after he helps Gu Chang Feng court Jiang Xiao Xuan.
Our second OTP is getting more and more entertaining to watch. I am enjoying how hapless and innocent Gu Chang Feng is. Jiang Xiao Xuan is devastated by cousin Li’s betrayal and tries to suicide by jumping in a well. Gu Chang Feng tries to stop her and succeeds but ends up falling in the well in her stead. He also persuades Jiang Xiao Xuan into staying on and helping him on his path into becoming a better doctor. But staying also meant that he had to introduce Jiang Xiao Xuan to Madame Jin because Gu Chang Feng lives within the Jin household. Both Yu Qilin and Jiang Xiao Xuan are shocked by this turn of events but play it off well with Yu Qilin claiming that Jian Xiao Xuan is one of her closest friends.
Gu Chang Feng doesn’t know the first thing about courting and looks to Jin Yuanbao who tells him to buy the person he likes lots of cosmetics, flowers, quote poetry, and then act like you don’t care about them so they can get jealous. Needless to say that these parts are a bunch of laughs but we do find out that Jiang Xiao Xuan is aware of Gu Chang Feng’s feelings and doesn’t mind being pursued by him.
Liu Wen Zhao knows that something is not right as and is running around trying to discover what is going on. He will find out soon enough, the question is when and what he plans to do about it. He is the bad guy but so far hasn’t gone into the loathsome category yet.
Episode 13, 14, 15, Recap: Without a doubt these are the funniest episodes so far with lots of skinship and jealousy and just plain funny moments. Jin Yuanbao finds himself thinking of Yu Qiling all the time and in an effort to stop that, takes Gu Chang Feng’s quack potion which makes him think that everyone is Yu Qiling. There is no doubt that Jin Yuanbao is completely enthralled by Yu Qiling but he doesn’t want to be the first to admit it so he wines, dines, and plies her with music so that she can confess first. She gets drunk and confesses that she likes him and finds him handsome which leads him to ask for kisses. She complies which makes him immensely happy. (A side note: I really like the song playing in the background, which is the ending theme song of the series) They wake up the next morning and Jin Yuanbao teases Yu Qiling for taking advantage of him (meaning kissing, they haven’t slept together yet) and that he will accept her love confession grudgingly since she was so warm towards him last night. This results in Yu Qiling punching him in the face with Jin Yuanbao vowing that he will have her eating out of his hands in the future.
Yu Qiling confides in Jiang Xiao Xuan the reason that she is staying on in the Jin household. We learn that Jin Yuanbao’s real mom used to be General Jin’s concubine who was kicked to the curb by Madame Jin after General Jin death on the battlefields. But she kept the concubine’s son to raise as her own since she wasn’t able to have children. Yu Qiling wants to find evidence so that Jin Yuanbao will believe that his real mom isn’t Madame Jin. Jiang Xiao Xuan agrees to stay at the Jin household until Yu Qiling finds the proof.
Madame Jin’s birthday is coming up and Jin Yuanbao wants to be the one in charge of the grand celebration but Madame Jin wants Liu Wen Zhao to handle it. Jin Yuanbao then offers up Yu Qiling who refuses to back down from the challenge even though she is way out of her element. Jin Yuanbao further sabotages Yu Qiling by only allocating her only 60% of the amount that was used last year, but Yu Qiling digs her grave even deeper when she says she can make do with even less when she misunderstood the hand gestures that Jiang Xiao Xuan was signaling her. Jin Yuanbao laughs to himself thinking that now Yu Qiling would have to beg him for help, but she overhears his comment and vows never! She looks instead to Jiang Xiao Xuan, Gu Chang Feng, and Liu Wen Zhao for help. When Jing Yuanbao finds out that she went to Liu Wen Zhao for help he gets extremely jealous and forbids Yu Qiling from associating with Liu Wen Zhao. More kissing and even a snake bite resulting in more skinship.
Yu Qiling and Jiang Xiao Xuan is thrown in a frenzy once they hear that Madame Jian is going to present at the celebration. But luckily at the last minute, they find out that Madame Jian won’t be attending due to falling ill so false alarm or is it? The planned birthday celebration starts off with only a small glitch with Yu Qiling falling during a dance routine but was bailed out by Jin Yuanbao. Later on a huge disaster was avoided i.e. Liu Qian Qian poisoned the dessert with laxatives but was caught in time by Jin Yuanbao and company and a remedy was given to all in the form of wine for toasting purposes. But then the sudden appearance of Madame Jiang throws everyone in for a loop.