Dragon Gate: Eps 8-15 (Finale)
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!
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. >_<
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!?!?
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”
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.
“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.