Dragon Gate: Eps 8-15 (Finale)

Drama ReviewsTaiwanese Dramas

Well I contemplated whether or not to write a final review for Dragon Gate because I knew that the majority of my review would be filled with complaints and gripes about the drama. =_=  By now I’m sure it is no secret that Dragon Gate flopped and I had  ZERO expectations for the 2nd half of the drama.  But alas, I somehow kept watching ’til the very end.  Granted, I mainly skimmed through the episodes only to watch the Tammy scenes (LOL) but even then, I was wondering whether it was really worth it or not.   This may sound odd but it’s like, the drama got so ridiculous and cheesy that I ended up being amused by it. O_O”  It is like this weird phenomenon where the drama sucks but I still kept on watching to find out what it would do next/to see my favorite character.  There is no rational explanation to why I watched DG AHAHAHA.  And NO NO I’m not the only one who persevered all the way ’til the end, my comrade Kat @ Dramapot did too, so HA!

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If you read any of my Love Forward reviews or my previous Dragon Gate reviews, you may already know that I am a huge fan of Tammy Chen.  I am not a big enough fan of her to finish all her dramas (i.e. dropped Happy 300 Days..which was ironically a better drama than this one LOL) but OMG.  I swear it is not just my love of Tammy that makes me love her character Xiang Yu!!! Xiang Yu is epic because she is THE BOSS!  Literally the LADY BOSS!  Yes, at times Xiang Yu can be inconsistent and I always got frustrated with her for chasing after freaking Huai An, but omg.  Xiang Yu is so kickbutt and epic that I couldn’t help but be drawn into her character, so much so that I wanted to watch every single one of her scenes.  (which I did!)  She has a harem of men (Xiao Dao, Huai An, and Xiao San..JK..BUT NOT REALLY.. 😛 ), she struts around in her stilettos taking on the villains, and she has a whole loyal following of minions who are willing to obey her every command.   I loved watching her as the lady boss of Dragon Gate; she is both restricted by her duty to her people but also very empowered by her great knowledge and her gutsy risk-taking.   She may be trapped by her responsibility as the lady boss, but she still wields a great amount of power and dares to defy her ‘fate’.

Usually in these kinds of dramas, the heroine is some saintly angelic kindhearted person that everyone loves because she is just SOOO pure.  Not so with Xiang Yu.  She will manipulate people, play the devil’s advocate, and toy around with people’s feelings to get her way, and everyone knows it.  But at the same time she is also very selfless in that she will sacrifice herself to save her people no matter what the consequences are.  Her people don’t follow her because she is some perfect benevolent leader, but rather because they know how much she sacrifices for them and that she will do anything within her power to protect them.

Anyways, Tammy totally dominates the screen and all in all, I’m glad that I tried out Dragon Gate because otherwise I would’ve missed out on her awesome character.  And omg, was I the only one admiring her outfits in every single episode? Because the stylist definitely got her outfits right in this drama!!  But, as I’ve found before with other dramas, one amazing character or actress is not enough to carry the entire drama.  Xiang Yu may be the most charismatic and interesting character but she alone cannot make up for the flaws with the rest of the characters & the plot.  I have a love-hate relationship with DG because I love Xiang Yu but also feel that the drama wasted her character & doesn’t do her justice. >_<

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If you recall from my previous posts, I was a huge Xiao Dao x Xiang Yu shipper but my ship didn’t even sail.  It just slowly sunk…or more like it just sat there and didn’t go anywhere.  Xiao Dao is all swoony but he always takes the back seat and does not get much screen-time or character development.  He is just forever Huai An’s sidekick and Xiang Yu’s friendzoned bestie.  ARGHH!!  I feel like the Xiao Dao x Xiang Yu ship is a total tease because the two of them have such great chemistry but NOO nothing happens!!!!!   Xiang Yu even took Xiao Dao’s first kiss!! How are they not meant to be together?  AND!!!  There are lots of scenes towards the end with Xiao Dao & Xiang Yu…at first it’ll show a close-up view and I’m all ok, they’re just talking together side by side..but then it’ll always zoom out and we see that they are actually all touchy feely–usually with Xiao Dao having his arm around Xiang Yu, Xiang Yu leaning on Xiao Dao, them holding hands, etc.  O_O WHAT’S WITH THAT!?!?  THAT’S ALL THEY GAVE US!! :'(   To make things worse the ending is open-ended with XIANG YU & HUAI AN MEETING TOGETHER ON A BEACH.  WHAAAAAT?  I think that implies that Huai An & Xiang Yu might get together!! WHYYY!?!?

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Anyways, aside from Xiang Yu & Xiao Dao, the rest of Dragon Gate was quite painful to watch.  The problem is that the drama attempts to have layers upon layers of intricate conspiracies, back-stabbing, secret pasts, etc. but instead it has so many twists and turns that it ends up being ridiculous.  At one point things got so confusing that I wasn’t even sure that the writer was sure what was gonna happen either.  The drama is partly an action/police drama with all the agents (Huai An/Mo Yu) going against the corrupt police force but all of the police scenes failed.  It is basically just a lot of agents waving around their guns & posing trying to look all cool but instead it looks cheesy and unrealistic. =_=   Also the villains & side characters are not very good at acting, meaning that most of their scenes are full of them evilly cackling & over-exaggerating everything.  The villains–even the evil mastermind who is supposed to be a genius–are not that smart and I found it hard to believe that they still survived all the way ’til the LAST EPISODE.  T_T”

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I also have a lot of complaints about the other 2 main characters–Huai An & Mo Yu.  These two are the main ship of the drama (Xiang Yu & Xiao Dao don’t really have a ship) and yet whenever they are together I can’t really feel anything for them.  It is always Huai An going “MO YUUU DUN LEAVE ME” and Mo Yu going “I love you but I’m gonna pretend that I don’t because I’M GONNA GO BE A DOUBLE AGENT!”.  *sigh*   Alice Ke, despite her memorable performance in Office Girls, struggles here to convincingly portray the strong yet conflicted Mo Yu.  Mo Yu is supposed to be someone with divided loyalties, someone who is willing to give even her life to make things right again..but instead she comes off as a rather bland character.  Well by ending of the drama I had seen so many twists that I thought nothing could phase me but surprisingly, MO YU DIES!!!!!!!!!!  IN EP13!!!!!! WHAAAAAT?  I was not expecting her death at all; actually I seriously thought that they would pull the miraculous Mo Yu-coming-back-to-life stunt but nope, she dies for real.  O_O

As for Huai An, blegh.  I don’t even want to talk about his character.  Someone mentioned that he is supposed to be the hero but instead he’s always the one that needs saving.  And it is so true.  I don’t know what Xiang Yu sees in him to be dwelling on him for all 15 episodes.  T_T  I guess the one redeeming factor for Huai An is that he learns to see Xiang Yu for who she really is rather than someone who is bent on seducing him.  At first he views her only as someone he is indebted to but I’d say that by the end he acknowledges her as one of his best friends & as one of the only people who stood by his side in his lowest moments.

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“Once someone enters Dragon Gate, they become my people.  If you’re not willing to save them, I will.” -Xiang Yu

By the last couple episodes of the drama, I had very little hopes of a good ending & doubted that anyone would even end up together.  Starting with ep14 though, things got much more interesting once Xiang Yu got to leave Dragon Gate with Xiao Dao & Huai An as her BODYGUARDS.  They have lots of scenes together and suddenly it felt like the OT3 had really good chemistry!?!?  Omg why does this happen in the episode before the finale?  I wish this could’ve happened earlier!  Well anyways by this point I would take anything I could get and decided that an ending with the OT3 living happily ever after would be good enough for me.  But no, the ending is also open-ended and inconclusive and it doesn’t even show the OT3 together for one last time!! Darn it!!

All in all, Dragon Gate could’ve been a much better drama but it ultimately missed the mark.  It almost felt like it tried to do too much, to the point where it had too much on its plate and everything just felt out of place.  Of course, I will always remember Xiang Yu very fondly as she really made the drama much more enjoyable to watch.  Actually after DG ended, I felt a bit sad because I no longer had my weekly Tammy/Xiang Yu fix!  😛  I need me some more Tammy dramas!

Quote Translation Credit / Where to watch: Dragon Gate is English subbed on Viki.

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • I actually had high expectation while watching the first episode, but after the second episode my excitement with this drama went down. Too bad, because it could’ve been so good, the story had potential at first sight…

  • HAHAHA misscupcakes endured till the end too!!!! I don’t even remember why I kept watching, maybe there was a part of me that wanted to find out what this whole ‘conspiracy’ was about (of course it was a disappointment). Then in the end it just became amusing when everyone is trying to be all serious but it’s so cheesy. I can understand Sunny & Alice might not be the strongest actors but how come the veterans didn’t lift their game either?

    Jin Xiang Yu was the only interesting character in DG. (Well, of course Xiao Dao would be up there if he had more scenes!!!!!!) But it’s unfortunate her ‘coolest’ moments only lasted for 2 eps… eh… so much potential it was…

    • I know right? They tried to hard to be serious but it only made it funnier. I think Tammy tried her best to do justice to her role but she was still limited by the cheesy atmosphere/script/bleh supporting cast. Melvin didn’t have much screentime anyways (*bitter*) so idk about him.

      I think Xiang Yu remained epic til the end but yeah, her best moments were BEFORE she fell in love with Huai An. T_T

      • I should have never watched it! I thought it was going to kick-ass but after one minute in and I knew that it wasn’t going to.

        Tammy was good in her role but was very limited with what she could bring. The writing sucked and the chemistry between the cast just wasn’t up to standard. Even as much as I liked her and Melvin together, their chemistry just didn’t cut it. They didn’t have enough scenes for them to grow! Yepppp, I totally agree that her best moments were before she fell in love with Huai An!

  • Hmm, maybe I won’t watch this now…or if I do, I’ll fast-forward to Tammy Chen awesomeness. I’ve had that experience with dramas before, too, where even if they were god awful, you still somehow enjoyed them to an extent because of the sheer awfulness. Unfortunately…I haven’t had an awful, feel-good drama in a while. Grrr at May Queen and Crazy Love they were just painfully awful.

    • Yeah it is weird when somehow awfulness turns into amusing cheesiness. HEHEHEH. Ah Tammy Chen is so great in this drama. I’m so disappointed that the drama doesn’t do her justice though!

  • Haha, I watched the first two episodes of this drama so so long ago but I think I might have seen something in one of your posts or it might have been another blog I’m following but it put me back starting at episode 3. Haha…I agree with oh so many of your complaints 🙂

    I was going to write something about what I felt but all of a sudden I see your Dragon Gate 8-15 and I thought to myself I have to check this review out. Xiang Yu definitely the strongest actress in the drama, but what can you say, I’m a sucker for nice, self-sacraficing heroines. Even though the script was just epically messed up and made the whole story confusing and non-sensical, I totally dug Mo Yu’s character. Episode 13 was by far my favorite and probably the most heart wrenching. As you said, when Xiang Yu was with Mo Yu’s dead body, I was half expecting it to be all “part of the plan” and that Mo Yu would wake up and the two would wink or something and then Mo Yu would play dead until the last minute of the last episode. Hehe.

    The story was just too weird for me to like this drama and I couldn’t really tell at all that Huai An was in love with Mo Yu. I didn’t start understanding the story until like episode 5 or 6, watched it with listening to the Chinese only xD Anyways great article very entertaining. 🙂

    • AHAHA your comment made me chuckle. Because I can totally imagine the whole Mo Yu’s faked death plan! With Dragon Gate’s logic, it would TOTALLY BE POSSIBLE!!! I’m actually surprised they didn’t do that. I guess I didn’t really talk much about Mo Yu’s character in my review. I think she was ok (I liked her more than Huai An, that’s for sure 😛 ) but I wasn’t really into her character. But now that you mention self-sacrifice, I think both heroines were very self-sacrificing. They definitely stole the spotlight from the heroes. 😉

      • I think Chinese cinema, especially main land in Wuxia are obsessed with self sacrificing female characters which I really don’t enjoy so much. I think its sexist, keeping women under thumb and serving as supports instead of leads

        • The period c-dramas tend to romanticize the tragic endings where the female characters always sacrifice themselves for the heroes. In Dragon Gate it was kinda different from that though..instead Tammy’s character was more of a strong heroine who saved the day!

  • Fun to read again. This is another drama that I only saw the first or second episode. I love Chen Yi Rong or Tammy as you called her since Lucky Days.
    I had to check if you meant Lucky Days was the same as 300 Days haha
    Anyways fun read again from you
    God Bless

  • I was searching for review for this drama because I was interested based on the teasers but now, I guess not. I can’t believe they would kill a main character – Mo Yu in such an early stage. Is it because of lazy writing? Because the writers don’t know how to find a resolution for the love triangle?

    • It was a couple episodes before the finale, so it wasn’t SUPER SUPER early in the drama. But it was still really surprising to me. Oh, well the writing was confusing for the majority of the drama anyways so.. O_O””

  • I’m way late to comment on this, but I have to admit I kinda liked this series, but then again, I might be even a bigger Tammy Chen fan than you, Heisui. I actually think Tammy Chen might be the cutest woman in the world – definitely in the top 10! Her and Amber Kuo together in Love Forward were so adorable, I became an instant fan of both of them. I liked Tammy Chen in Happy 300 Days, too (and I watched all of the episodes, hehe). On the other hand, I just finished watching Painted Skin (the TV series, not the movie), and I didn’t really enjoy it that much. It was too depressing to see Tammy Chen’s character (Pei Rong) never be able to overcome the fox demon, Xiao Wei, (played by Fiona Sit), and Pei Rong’s husband (Wang Sheng) act like such an idiot. The acting in Painted Skin was quite good, I must admit – the story was just too depressing for me to really enjoy.

    • Tammy was the best part of the drama for sure! But I wasn’t very impressed with the drama overall. >_< Yeah, unfortunately Painted Skin isn't a very happy story. It was different seeing Tammy play a non-spunky character though!

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-On an indefinite hiatus.

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