*WARNING*: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. If you DO NOT want to be spoiled, please DO NOT read. You have been warned.
Though I was anticipating the drama’s airing and vouched to watch it the first minute it’s available, Vanadia beat me to it with her post. But that was all right since I was glad for a little heads-up on things and how she included her outtake on it thus far.
Anyway, the drama started out with a dramatic sequence of Tian He (portrayed by Mike He) committing suicide by jumping into the ocean as Long Tai (also portrayed by Mike He) attempted to rescue him by lunging in after. Many might have guessed by now that they’re twins. The other dark side of the scene was mostly from Tian He’s point of view. His suicide mission this time was about ‘repenting for his wrongdoings’ or so he said before diving into the water. And the darker side of it was how he had asked bitterly why there was already him, why was there Long Tai as well? So what had triggered the events leading to this scene? We will have to see the rest of the drama to find out because we were given a piece of the puzzle and now the journey is on with searching for clues.
After the cutesy, light-hearted theme song sang by the girl band PopU Lady, we are brought back into a somewhat familiar fish market (as I’m sure most of us have seen fish markets at one point or another) yet somewhat unfamiliar Japanese setting with Long Tai appearing to save the day as an elderly lady was being harassed by two men. As Long Tai challenged them to a fight, the scene turned into a chase with Long Tai running way ahead his predators. But it wasn’t like he was scared of them since he had initiated the fight in the first place. What he was stopped by was a careless kid and because he had to grab the kid away from a moving vehicle’s path, he was too late to stop the coming knives from behind.
Have no fear though since his ‘lao da’ was on scene in time to save him and even told his ‘henchmen’ (I’m guessing here) to take care of those two bullies immediately. After that was done and out of the way, the apparently fierce man asked Long Tai about his mother. That was when we witnessed a totally different side of the somewhat intimidating man. Though appearing tough and ruthless several minutes before, he was almost like a teddy bear in front of Long Tai’s mother and even seemed quite embarrassed as she had pushed the money back into his hands. (YES, his face turned bright red upon the sudden hand-on-hand contact with the lady.) Seriously? That was when I started laughing. (And on what universe was his ‘strength’ being the case of the problem? He just took out two bullies earlier single-handedly without a blink.)
If anyone thought the cute interaction between the pair of mother and son were short-lived, don’t worry. Their interactions continued at home during mealtime when Long Tai was forced to eat more by his mother and had to eat by the double. It seemed quite odd to Long Tai yet his mother was fast to come up with an excuse that he was working so hard hence needing to eat two portions. Then came the ‘kneeling punishment’ for his involvement in some fights again and Long Tai’s fast reaction to charm his mother out of a more severe sentence.
The next part zoomed to Taiwan, Long family showing a very depressive, disruptive Tian He knocking over the pills (like always) and was coaxed by the servants to drink the medications. Enter the fierce looking father portrayed by Lei Hong and we could form some sort of picture about a complex wealthy family story. But what still stayed as a mystery was about Tian Xia’s condition that forced his dependency on those particular medications all these years. To which, we are given the answer of soon after (and not several episodes later, thank god, lol) when the doctor told them that Tian He’s heart condition was getting worse and they should be prepared for it. (YUP, he’s going to be gone soon, but I’m guessing the coming scenes would influence how Tian He’s life is going to be extended, considering he lived up to the point of what happened at the first scene of the drama.)
Just when I was anticipating something about major dramatic fallout ages ago within the Long household hence the separations of various members and their scattering elsewhere, the answer came with Long Shou Cheng’s attempt to write a letter to Mei Zhi Zi apologizing for his weakness 26 years ago when he wasn’t able to stop his mother from kicking her out. So it was about fulfilling his own filial duties, not wanting to disobey his own mother hence causing his wife and son to leave the Long household. Still a dramatic plot device but I guess that was better than seeing some misunderstanding between two parties hence the separation.
It wasn’t until the plot moved forward a bit more, allowing us to meet the female lead and eventually the chair person of the Zhao family’s supposedly grand empire Zeng Mei Ren that I began to understand the title of the drama “Mei Ren Long Tang”, because aside from the Zhao family’s strong footing within the area, there was also the Long family. Though Zeng Mei Ren had outright insulted them with having no talents within the Long household for a long time now because of how Tian He had been sick all these years thus not having any talent within the young generation like her grandson Zhao Ren Hu (whom she bragged about left and right).
As things would have it, Long Tai and Tian He’s mother passed away way before they would have time to worry over Tian He’s current state. That was indeed a quite touching scene as Long Tai hugged his mother and begged her not to leave. The song “Growing Up” (長大) by Nylon Chen accompanied the scene, enhancing the emotional scene several notches. It honestly was quite heartbreaking as Long Tai took the last dish that his mother had whipped up for him (that night just minutes before her passing) out of the fridge and at the same time not knowing what to do – eat or not. Yet he had chosen to eat it with his mother in the end. (If that made sense.)
So after Long Tai was given the key to a secret drawer from Jian Er (his boss from the fish market earlier) and gained access to some of his mother’s possession that had linked to the Long family, he vouched that he would bring her ‘home’ to see the flower that she so longingly wanted to see its progress all these years. (Of course Long Tai had already been told by his mother about his background before she passed away.)
As fate would have it, while Long Tai’s returning to Taiwan to seek out his heritage, Tian He was sent to Japan with his doctor in toll to find a cure. At that same airport, our cute female lead Ren Mei came into contact with both siblings yet she had shrugged it off as a coincidence when she spotted a lookalike seconds ago. The encounter repeated itself again as Long Tai was chasing after a thief and Ren Mei got in between the little chase.
Unlike Tian He who reacted quite cruelly to her during each encounter, Long Tai had helped her up after a collision and even apologized for his own behavior, surprising her into speechlessness because of the contradictory behavior since she had thought he was Tian He the whole time. I’m guessing they would end up together leaving Tian He and Ren Hu fighting over another girl in the future when Tian He finally returns from Japan?
While that is left unknown until some future episode, the next one will finally release us from the wait with the face off between Long Tai and Ren Hu as seen in the previews.
My thoughts thus far? Positive and I have to say I haven’t been excited about a drama for sooo long now. It’s like the others try to crank up the hype by adding in different formulas yet I couldn’t get into it. Unlike this one. Though still having some typical formulas of an idol drama, but it was written and filmed in a way that seemed more real on some levels. The pace was just about right, not lingering at places for too long but wasn’t so rushed that wasn’t allowed more time to explore. The mystery was still there, which was good but wasn’t too dragged out either. Then there’s the chance of seeing Mike portraying two roles, which got me impressed with his scenes so far. Nylon Chen’s usual sunshine image (at least it seemed that way to me) got exchanged for an intimidating character, which would be interesting to see as well because he already got me into hating him yet I’m still loving the bts with the crew working so hard to achieve the effects of the scenes. And while I’m waiting for the next episode, I silently hope that this would reap in major results and take over as the champion for the coming weeks. YES, this coming from the person who doesn’t care to pay attention to ratings anymore. Perhaps, it’s also because I feel like this is one of the top-notch ones that actually deserves some attention. Who knows? This might actually make others think differently of Mike’s choice of dramas since his several last failed attempts of drawing in more attention and/or public recognition. (Though I thought “Sunny Happiness” was decent but that’s just one out of his several others, right?) Anyway, jia you, Mei Ren Long Tang team!
*All images were captured by DTLCT