Mr. Right Wanted: Eps 12-20 (Final Review)
Long time no post about Mr. Right Wanted! In case you were wondering, I didn’t forget about this drama…I just took a really long time to get around to watching the last few episodes. Although I haven’t been reviewing this drama at a very consistent pace, I do owe it a final review. For maximum impact, I suggest that you listen to the awesome OST while reading. 😉
“Why do humans get married? After meeting 100 marriage candidates, I still don’t understand. The question and answer have become more complicated for me.”
Hai Ning finally reaches the conclusion of her book, only to encounter her final obstacle: an existential crisis. Although she has interviewed 100 marriage candidates and had a relationship with Zhe Ming, she still does not understand the motives behind marriage. The more she learns, the more questions she has and the less she understands. She decides not to publish the book; though she claims it’s because she feels it’d be hypocritical to publish a book when she doesn’t get marriage, the real reason is she doesn’t want to get hurt. Her book has opened up an old wound dating all the way back to her ex-boyfriend Cheng Hao. Hai Ning’s boss points out that she made the decision to protect herself, and that it’s ok to do so.
Bei Bei: “…what is your answer?”
Hai Ning: “Courage.”
Learning about other people’s stories will not necessarily help you write your own story. Hai Ning learned all about other people’s motives for marriage, but hesitated when it came to learning about herself. Throughout this whole drama, Hai Ning has been scared to love 100%, scared to get hurt. I thought she had recovered from her relationship with Cheng Hao (I think she thought she was over it too) but it seems she never fully healed from it until the final episode. As Yu Zhou points out, perhaps Hai Ning doesn’t want to get married because she believes that the marriage will ultimately end in divorce. Eventually Hai Ning realizes that she has to have the courage to trust and to make her own story–that is, her own life.
It was a pleasure watching Sonia Sui as Hai Ning; I definitely like her character better in Mr. Right Wanted more than her character in Pursuit of Happiness. Like, 20x more. While the drama could’ve spent more time developing certain aspects of her character–for instance, the existential crisis–she’s definitely fleshed out and easy to relate to. Her worries, struggles and aspirations feel real. I love how down-to-earth Hai Ning is.
And I gotta say, Hai Ning’s styling is totally on point. Yes yes, Sonia is a model so maybe that also factor into why I liked her outfits so much–she wears them well. But I love how the styling really feels like it’s her own. What I mean is, her outfits don’t make me feel like I’m watching a fashion show.
Zhe Ming and Hai Ning’s relationship shows that great chemistry does not necessarily result in great compatibility. Hai Ning & Zhe Ming seem like a dream couple at first. They obviously have great chemistry and naturally gravitate towards each other. Can I even say that fate (in other words, coincidences that are too good to be true) bring them together? However, despite their great chemistry, they have a major clash in values which jeopardizes their relationship. Zhe Ming has good intentions, but doesn’t understand some of Hai Ning’s most important values such as her pride in her work. Hai Ning cannot tolerate Zhe Ming’s interference with her job. She cannot fulfill his expectation that she will stop working if she marries him. Hai Ning & Zhe Ming’s relationship ends for good.
Honestly all this time I have been hoping that Hai Ning is not in a relationship by the ending. It would’ve been an unexpected yet satisfying outcome: author writes book on marriage and goes on 100 blind marriage dates only to realize that it’s ok for her to be single. But the drama takes a totally different route: it throws Hai Ning together with another side character, Zhong Wen(Hans Chung)–aka the bike delivery guy & photographer. T__T I don’t have anything against Zhong Wen but the ending feels so rushed and out of place that it doesn’t even feel like a pre-planned plot twist. It feels like the drama just ran out of time, so it hurriedly put Hai Ning together with Zhong Wen. Here lies my main issue with Mr. Right Wanted: the drama focuses so much on telling the marriage candidates’ stories that it forgets to devote enough time to the heroine’s story! Zhong Wen enters the scene waaay too last minute and he has very little character development. I wish that the drama had spent more time on developing Zhong Wen’s character and showing more of the other supporting characters (not the marriage candidates).
Why do I still like Mr. Right Wanted, you may ask? I really enjoy the styling, the cinematography, cityscapes, soundtrack, and of course, the cast. I like the supporting characters and how the heroine is down-to-earth and easy to relate to. The drama is not your typical rom-com. It hits home in many regards. The lessons in the story are applicable to so much more than just romantic relationships. But if I had to give just one reason for why I like Mr. Right Wanted, I’d say that I like it because it is a great expression. It always finds creative ways to convey its message. Why not have two lovebirds literally burst out into song and dance in an impromptu musical? Why not have the characters talk straight to the camera? Why not use old songs in the soundtrack? So many times, I was surprised by how the drama sought to express itself in different ways, rather than just sticking to the usual drama-formula.
Lastly, I leave you with the final message from our heroine. This applies not only to marriage but also to most things in life:
“Marriage candidate Li Hai Ning said, ‘Marriage is an end but also a beginning. Ending needs courage and beginning needs trust.'”
To watch or not to watch? Looking back on this drama, I believe that the first half of it is more interesting than the second half. The rushed ending and poor pacing is definitely a drawback to the drama. I would recommend that you pick and choose which episodes to watch, rather than watching all of them. Some of the marriage candidates are easily forgettable, so feel free to skip their scenes. Despite the drama’s flaws, I enjoyed it as a whole. I like Sonia’s performance & character here waaay more than in her previous dramas. I also like the OST so much that I’m still listening to it after finishing the drama!
“Not Long Ago” by Wan Fang
Photoshoot BTS – Sonia Sui, Hans Chung, and Chris Lee
Quote translation credit: Viki