Bu Bu Jing Qing: Eps 1-3
It’s been a couple years since Bu Bu Jing Xin aired. I remember this drama very fondly as a bittersweet story that drew me in with each and every episode. I think we can all agree that the costumes, the acting, the characters and of course, the story all came together to form one very solid and memorable drama. Bu Bu Jing Xin was also a special drama to me because it was actually the first drama that I recapped completely!
So of course, I was very skeptical when I heard that BBJX would have a sequel in the modern day, Bu Bu Jing Qing. Like most fans, I had the fear that things would go drastically wrong and that it would not do the first season justice, especially considering that it doesn’t even have half of the old cast from BBJX! I mean, what is BBJX & BBJQ without our 13th, 8th, and 14th princes!?!? EH!?!?! All we have now are Kang Xi, 10th, 4th, Ruo Lan, and Yu Tan!!!!!! *facepalms already* Even if we still have Ruo Xi & 4th, it’s not the same without everyone else! 😛
But despite my skepticism, there was also a lot that I could envision in what I think would be the ideal sequel to BBJX. I think that if the drama had gotten it right, it could’ve gone much deeper into the time paradoxes/parallel worlds, Zhang Xiao/Ruo Xi’s psychological struggle between the past and the present, and maybe an identity crisis for Ruo Xi (IMO, it’s inevitable. She’s pretty much lived 3 lives.) And of course, there would have to be a conflict between whether she sees 4th’s reincarnation for who he really is, or whether she sees him as a replacement for 4th prince. Unfortunately considering the crazy previews and the current episodes so far, I highly doubt that the drama would explore all of these issues, so I kept my expectations low for the pilot episode and I’m continuing to keep them at bay for the future episodes. >__<
…AND I’m gonna be totally contradictory here and say that although the beginning episodes of BBJQ didn’t really raise my expectations for it any higher, I actually really enjoyed episodes 1-2. I think they did a pretty good job of transitioning Zhang Xiao back into the modern day world and portraying her inner conflict over her two identities & all of her old ghosts that she just can’t get rid of. I really like how in the beginning, she mentions that for 3 months since she woke up, she’s been revisiting the Qing Dynasty museum over and over again just to gaze at the old painting that shows her with all the princes. This kind of coping mechanism is really suitable for her situation, considering she lived in the past for so many years, then suffered heartbreak & death, and is now having another culture shock/paradigm shift as she reenters the modern world. She needs something to keep her grounded, something that can give her comfort, and for now, this painting that is her only connection to her past world is just what she needs to cope. Really, I wish the first episode had given more depth to Zhang Xiao’s inner turmoil considering all she has been through. Ruo Xi/Zhang Xiao has always been a very resilient person; as we saw in BBJX she was saddened to be separated from her family in the modern day but eventually she sucked it up and did what she could to get used to her life in the Qing Dynasty. Now though, could she even have the same determination considering all she went through in the past? IMO I think Zhang Xiao would’ve returned to the present as a much more jaded and bitter person. Really, how could she not have some kind of bitterness or resentment over all she lived through? How can she have the strength to live now that she died once, only to find that she still has to live on with all of these painful memories?
Anyways this (to me) is kind of a trivial point but…I have to say that although a lot of people complained about Zhang Xiao’s ‘maternal-looking hairstyle’ and bland wardrobe, her lifeless expressions, etc….(Ok ADMITTEDLY I’m pretty sure I was one of the people who complained as well. 😛 ) now that I’m viewing Zhang Xiao from this perspective..–that is, someone who must be very confused about her standing in the world, someone who’s still grieving over all that she lost– it totally makes sense to me that she is not going around wearing super bright colors and acting all cheerful. Zhang Xiao is not a happy person, nor is she the young Ruo Xi of the past who used to be carefree and youthful.
Case in point: Zhang Xiao would not be wearing all of these bright colors that she used to wear back when she was young & in love:
So yeah, we all know that Liu Shi Shi can look even more attractive with different hairstyles (side bangs!!!!) and it might be nice to see her wearing some brighter colors but really, at this point of time, I don’t think it would suit Zhang Xiao’s character. >_<
“I can still feel their [the princes’] presence. What am I seeking? Am I seeking those familiar faces, and reliving what they have said?
Having been through the pain of separation in life and by death, could it be that I still don’t understand that the pain of having loved is even more intolerable than death?
…Am I afraid that I’ll lose those memories, or that I just can’t let go?”
(Translation credit to mJ01991, with some of my own revisions.)
Well episode 1 definitely plays the nostalgia card A LOT especially with the classic museum scene, which picks up where the last episode of BBJX left off. Admittedly, this scene got me right in the heart because of Zhang Xiao’s narrated thoughts (quoted above)…just the way she is questioning herself so much and how she is still dwelling on her past memories and loved ones…it’s all so like Ruo Xi. In this sense I feel like Zhang Xiao is undeniably Ruo Xi; although some may think she just had that long dream or whatever to get Ruo Xi’s reincarnation to get with 4th’s reincarnation..I think not. Zhang Xiao is still Ruo Xi, although she may have traveled back to her original time and body. Although I have some issues with Liu Shi Shi’s portrayal of Zhang Xiao later on, I think that she really nailed this scene and she definitely did a great job of showing her conflicting feelings over her lost past.
And of course, Zhang Xiao sees 4th prince’s reincarnation, now known as Yin Zheng! *gasp* I really liked the moment when she paused a bit as though she sensed his presence behind her, as well as the look on her face once she turned around and realized it was him. (Note that this was refilmed, so there wasn’t the dramatic taking-off-glasses part that was in BBJX ep35.) From that point forth she becomes a total mess as she starts silently sobbing and can barely utter a word. AND OF COURSE, the thing we all probably wished had happened at the end of ep35 HAPPENS–she runs after him!!
Not to say I didn’t want her to run after Yin Zheng, I mean where would our story be if she didn’t….but I think this part of the scene could’ve been a lot better. I felt like the filming location could’ve been better (read: prettier!) and it could’ve been filmed in a more dramatic way for maximum impact. (read: SLO-MO! With Zhang Xiao desperately running for her life after 4th’s reincarnation!) Instead I felt like I was just watching Zhang Xiao jog down the stairs and then awkwardly receive a balloon from Yin Zheng. >__>”” I guess it just lacked the feeling that it was ‘THE’ moment of reunion that I was waiting for?
^bottom left pic: IT’S NOT RUO XI! IT’S NOT ZHANG XIAO! IT’S LAN LAN!!!!!
“You can’t come to my world to look for me. I shall go to yours to find you.”
Long story short, 4th’s reincarnation is Yin Zheng, the stepson of a rich guy who is the CEO of a corporation. And guess what, the CEO is actually Kang Xi’s reincarnation! Aside from that, there’s only 10th prince who’s back from the BBJX family but he’s not Yin Zheng’s brother, darn it! Well obviously Yin Zheng never time traveled back to 4th’s time and he has no memories of Zhang Xiao/Ruo Xi. But, he has a fated connection towards mongolias. 😉 So far it seems like Yin Zheng is much softer than 4th prince and he opens up a lot more easily. He still has a commanding presence as vice president of his dad’s corporation, but he does not seem to be all calculating and secretive like 4th prince was in the past. Of course we can’t expect Yin Zheng to be a carbon copy of 4th, so I guess some of 4th’s traits remained but overall Yin Zheng turned out a bit differently. O_O The problem though, is that I don’t really feel a big spark between him & Zhang Xiao yet! On top of that BBJQ is riding on their chemistry, but so far..nada…the only thing I am feeling for right now is Zhang Xiao’s memories with 4th and her current pain in the present.
Also Yin Zheng seems to fall for women very easily? As in…….he falls head over heels for Zhang Xiao’s TWIN by episode 3!?!??!! Yes everyone, it’s as I feared from the previews, there is a Ruo Xi/Zhang Xiao ‘twin’ or ‘doppelganger’ or whatever you want to call her. Her name is Lan Lan, apparently a top model/celebrity who is sophisticated, kinda suspicious (does she have ulterior motives!?!?), and also has a dark past. If you thought that the picture of Nicky & LSS on the carousel was of Yin Zheng and Zhang Xiao, you thought wrong!!!!!!!! IT’S HIM AND LAN LAN!!!!!! It seems like the drama MIGHT be trying to do the whole “OH NO HE’S FALLING FOR THE WRONG ONE!” trope but….I don’t really feel anything for them in the first place either so..erm…
At first while watching the 15-minute long previews (they had them for up to episode 5-8 or so?) I was actually enjoying watching LSS play Lan Lan’s character more because she had more variation and at least LSS was not crying and tearing up every other scene. >_< But I take it back, after watching episode 3 which is pretty much all about Lan Lan & Yin Zheng’s blossoming romance, I just got bored with these two. I feel like Lan Lan was just added into the drama as an excuse to show us a Ruo Xi-look-alike back in the Qing Dynasty clothes for fan service. =_= The other thing I’m very iffy about is the plot twist up ahead (SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!) that Lan Lan will somehow get plastic surgery and come back with a different appearance…this time played as Annie Liu. UMMM….I really don’t get why they went through all this trouble to get LSS to play twins, then get the twin to get plastic surgery just so Annie Liu could take her place? Could they not think of a better character for Annie to play? *facepalm*
So far, I feel like Liu Shi Shi’s acting has not really improved much from her BBJX days. She nails the nostalgic, teary scenes but aside from that something about her acting just feels bland to me. It’s not even that she is really depressed and conflicted over her coming back to modern day, it’s more like the ONLY way she can convey it is by tearing up and furrowing her eyebrows all the time. >_>” Even for Lan Lan, where she is playing a totally different character, it’s just kinda meh. That being said, as of episodes 1-2 my two other favorite scenes are when she first sees Lan Lan & when she revisits the Forbidden City. I love the Lan Lan-encounter scene (even though she is not convincingly lipsyncing AT ALL) because this is where Zhang Xiao is pretty much looking at her past self and letting Lan Lan’s likeness to Ruo Xi bring her back to all of her great memories from the past. :'( If it were me though, I’d probably be more freaked out that there’s a doppelganger right in front of me? Of course I also loved the ‘wall scene’ at the Forbidden City where she stands outside the walls and reflects on how she is separated forever from 4th. ARGHH!!!!!!!! Why can’t the drama’s scenes ALL be good like this one!?!??!
^Love this set of character posters from BBJX (there is one for each main character; this is the cropped version) because they are so much more natural than the other super heavily processed ones.
“Is it my existence that changed everyone else’s story?”
The other thing I wanted to mention is that hey, at least the drama attempted to explain the parallel universes thing! I was really scared that they would literally pass off Lan Lan as Zhang Xiao’s blood-twin (if they do that in the future then I don’t know what to think T_T”) BUT thankfully they don’t. Zhang Xiao’s good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend who cheated on her (I believe this is why she got in the car accident & was sent back to the past, not sure if my memory is correct?) is STILL hanging around and is ever so annoying…BUT his one redeeming quality is that he is smart enough to explain the parallel universes to Zhang Xiao. I myself cannot understand and remember it all (HEHEHEH) but basically, by going back in time, Zhang Xiao altered history and thus created 2 parallel universes. This could result in maybe having a double copy of Zhang Xiao because of all those time paradoxes, etc. It does not go as in depth as say…the time-traveling parallel universes explanations in the jdrama JIN, but I WILL TAKE WHATEVER I CAN GET NOW! 😛
…I feel like I actually surprised myself with how positive this review sounds. O_O I wouldn’t say that BBJQ does BBJX justice at all and I don’t even think it amounts to half of what BBJX was. Of course I have plenty of criticisms about the opening episodes as well, but I ended up focusing on the good rather than focusing on the negatives. I would say episodes 1-2 are worth watching primarily for the major scenes that I mentioned (museum scene, wall scene), but episode 3 was a bore. Also, BEWARNED! The A-M-N-E-S-I-A happens at the end of ep2! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! On one hand, I feel like it might be what Zhang Xiao needed because she probably would not have been able to cope with her memories of the past. Also I do not want to see her go around weeping every single scene. But, I do wish it had been more plausible than her getting amnesia after getting electrocuted. I get that they wanted to connect it to how she was electrocuted in BBJX but instead it felt like a bit of a stretch. Ep3 also introduces the 2nd male lead but I didn’t really feel like talking about him for now. =_=
^WHAT THE HECK!?!?
The other thing I just had to mention is that there are actually 2 versions of BBJQ! It’s really confusing but basically there is the version that’s airing on the TV (cut version) and the version that’s not (uncut version). Don’t bother with the cut version because it is incredibly confusing. I mean, the first episode shows Zhang Xiao watching Bu Bu Jing Xin ON HER TV. I MEAN IT LITERALLY! Don’t even ask, it’s a big controversy and ewjtoaewjgosaiejg. Just watch the uncut version, it will spare you the frustration! You can read more on the issue on JayneStars.
And I just wanted to clarify to any of you who might be returning readers who used to follow along with my Bu Bu Jing Xin recaps…first of all, thanks for returning, if anyone remembered me when they started watching BBJQ, I am very glad and flattered hehe. If you’re returning after maybe not following along with my blog since the BBJX days, you may have already noticed some changes. First of all I am NOT recapping anymore. I am only writing reviews for dramas. Also if you remember….back in the day I was a total SPAZZ while I was recapping BBJX (FOR GOOD REASONS 😛 ) but now I am not as hyper as back then. I like trying to have a more analytical approach now. What can I say, time flies!
Last but not least, am I the only one totally addicted to the opening theme song?!?! I think when I first heard it back when BBJQ wasn’t out yet, I wasn’t too impressed by it. But now that I’ve associated it with the drama and listened to the lyrics, I totally love it!