When I started watching Jin Yu Liang Yuan, I didn’t have high hopes as I didn’t care too much for the trailer. But this series surpassed my expectations especially the first 15 episodes. Jin Yu Lian Yuan has its share of flaws but it is still watchable especially if one is looking for a lighthearted tv series with a good ending.
One of the reasons I enjoy watching this series is because of Jin Yuanbao aka Wallace Huo. I never thought he could do comedy but his portrayal of Jin Yuanbao has me laughing out loud. Perhaps because he is producing as well as acting in this series that he is giving it 110%. Unlike The Swordman 2013, where he made a very bad Linghu Chong. So bad that I gave up after the third episode. As the producer for Jin Yu Liang Yuan, I have to commend Wallace on using Bian Jiang, as the voice of Jin Yuanbao (who coincidentally also did Linghu Cong’s voice in The Swordman). Honestly, if the voices of the main OTP’s were badly dubbed I wouldn’t have watched it. Bad dubbing was the reason I could never watch the immensely popular Chinese Paladin series. All the men’s voices sounded decidedly effeminate to me.
I also want to give a round of applause to whoever did the costume designs. I especially loved Jin Yuanbao’s wardrobe. It’s been a long time since a male lead in an ancient drama wore such fashionable clothing that is also consistent with the time period. I wouldn’t mind dressing up as Jin Yuanbao for Halloween except nobody would know who I am. My favorite of his outfit was probably the blue and white robes. [Below image via bengdibao]
Episode 31, 32, 33 Recap: An edict requesting the presence of Jin Yuanbao and Yu Qilin from the dowager empress forces Madame Jin to make a decision of whether or not to pretend that Yu Qilin is Jiang Xiao Xuan. She seeks the couple out and finds them at a tavern and tells them that as much as she wanted to make Yu Qilin disappear off the face of this earth she can’t because she knows how much Jin Yuanbao loves Yu Qilin. Therefore the only thing she can do is go on with the pretense that Yu Qilin is Jiang Xiao Xuan. Our OTP is relieved to hear that they no longer have to run away to the ends of the earth to be together and the three of them go off to the meeting with the dowager empress who tells them that under no circumstances is the marriage to be dissolved because it will weaken the power that the crown prince will have over the royal court. (Does this part make sense? Not really as the entire reason that Jin Yuanbao and Jiang Xiao Xuan had to get married was tenuous at best).
Power of the armory is then restored back into Jin Yuanbao’s hands to the chagrin of Liu Wen Zhao. Off Liu Wen Zhao goes searching for another way to take back control of the armory. He thinks of the midwife that Yu Qilin talked about and decides to kidnap the midwife to find out if the midwife would know of anything that could harm the Jin Household. Additionally he decides to also kidnap Madame Yu, Yu Qilin’s adoptive mother to see if any information can be dug up there as well. Jin Yuanbao also sends men to bring Madam Yu to the capital as a surprise for Yu Qilin. Unfortunately Liu Wen Zhao’s men got to Madam Yu first. A villager comes to the Jin Household and asks them for help to locate the midwife. Once Madam Jin hears the name of the midwife she is shocked and concerned that the past will be exposed. Therefore she decrees the disappearance is of little consequence and does not require the attention of Jin Yuanbao which rouses Yu Qilin’s suspicions.
However Jin Yuanbao is able to locate the midwife and he brings her to the Jin household. Immediately that night the midwife is found dead with Madame Jin right by her bedside. It wasn’t Madame Jin who did the deed but rather one of Liu Wenzhao’s men. But Yu Qilin doesn’t know that and thinks Madame Jin did it because Madame Jin has reason to. Just as she is about to expose the reason Madam Jin feigns a faint and all is forgotten in the moment. Later Yu Qilin discovers that her mom is missing and is terrified. She fears her mom will be killed just like the midwife.
During this time Jiang Xiao Xuan and Gu Chang Feng have been getting along swimmingly and have been confirmed as a couple who would go to the ends of the earth for each other. The problem is Madame Gu. At first she thinks that Jiang Xiao Xuan is of dubious background so she doesn’t want her son to marry someone of such lowly status. But when she finds out Jian Xiao Xuan’s true status she thinks that Gu Chang Feng is overreaching. I understand the former reason but not the latter as the Madam Gu should be over the moon, but again plot contrivances. I do like our secondary OTP’s as they have many funny and cute moments as well.
Episode 34, 35, 36 Recap: Madame Jin is afraid that sooner or later Yu Qilin is going to expose the fact that she is not Jin Yuanbao’s real mother, so Madame Jin plots misunderstandings between the OTP ending with Yu Qilin leaving the Jin Household. Jin Yuanbao manages to talk her back into living at the household and promises to find Yu Qilin’s mother, Madame Yu with utmost haste. Really these three episodes could have been condensed into one. We also find out that it was Liu Wen Zhao’s trusted servant who killed the midwife and tried to place the blame on Madam Jin.
Episode 37, 38, 39 Recap: Jin Yuanbao finally finds Madame Yu and brings her back to the Jin Household to the shock of Madame Jin. Madame Jin goes to visit Madame Yu who promises never to divulge the secret of Jin Yuanbao’s birth asking only to stay a few days longer and to never return again. Madame Jin gives the okay and a short time later Madame Yu is poisoned by Liu Wen Zhao’s servant who pins the blame on Madame Jin. Yu Qilin then spills the beans on Jin Yuanbao’s birth secret opening the floodgates of major angst. Madame Jin attempts a suicide when she receives a note that was written by Liu Wenzhao but signed in Yu Qilin’s name. Jin Yuanbao captures Yu Qilin and Madame Yu, and stabs Yu Qilin but let’s her go after the stabbing. Madame Jin confesses the truth, and Jin Yuanbao can’t handle it and becomes a homeless beggar as a result. Nothing makes sense at this point now and guess what we are on for a further downward spiral from here on out.
Episode 40,41,42 Recap: Or how Liu Wen Zhao tortures Jin Yuanbao, Yu Qilin, and kills his sister. I fast forwarded though most of these episodes as it didn’t make sense to me how Liu Wen Zhao was able to control the Jin Household. Where does he get the authority, I thought only Madame Jin had it? Really spare yourself the time and skip it unless you love angst.
Episode 43,44,45 Recap: On the day that Liu Wen Zhao and Yu Qilin is about to get married, Jin Yuanbao manages to destroy the ceremony when he somehow overpowers all the men that’s holding him down. Liu Wen Zhao gets mad and then ties up the mothers, Madame Jin and Madame Yu and makes Jin Yuanbao decide which one should live. Jin Yuanbao can’t choose so Liu Wenzhao chooses Madame Yu. Jin Yuanbao tries to save her but at the last moment Madame Yu saves Jin Yuanbao instead. And then a miracle happens. Ah Fu, Jin Yuanbao’s trusty servant manages to hold Liu Wen Zhao hostage long enough for Jin Yuanbao, Yu Qilin, Madame Jin, and the mortally wounded Madame Yu to escape the Jin compound. Sigh…..logic out the window, especially when Ah Fu has zero martial arts skills and Liu Wen Zhao is a top fighter. Madame Yu dies and Madame Jin decides that they should tell the truth to the Dowager Empress and ask for forgiveness. During this time, Yu Qilin and Madame Jin reconcile. Of course the Dowager Empress decides to fake punish them so that the 2nd prince’s plot can be dragged out in the open. So we have Yu Qilin’s fake death and then resurrection after the 2nd prince is safely captured but not Liu Wen Zhao.
Dowager Empress happy with the resolution of the 2nd prince and because of that she grants the marriages of our OTP’s and secondary OTP’s on the same day. But Liu Wen Zhao comes uninvited and ready to kill. But our extremely intelligent Jin Yuanbao prepared for this and Liu Wen Zhao is captured and given a sound dressing down by Jin Yuanbao and Liu Wen Zhao kneels to the ground knowing that he is wrong. The wedding proceeds and the next morning we find out that Yu Qilin ran away because she is angry that Jin Yuanbao did not let her in on the fake death plot! Seriously why should he since she is the one who started on the trouble and put her trust in Liu Wen Zhao? Jin Yuanbao is sad but philosophical. Half a year passes and they meet again at the brothel where they kiss.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed episodes 1-16. Things started going down here from Episode 16 onwards as the comedy pretty much stopped. I continued watching hoping that things would get funny again but it didn’t. I can’t help thinking that it really should have been a 25 episode or 30 episode series max. It would have been an amazing series if it stopped then. At 45 episodes the plotline started having so much holes that it was no longer believable even within the confines of dramaland.