Deja Vu (Taiwanese Drama): First Impressions

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Another day, another drama. I think 2013 is the year of fantasy romances so it makes sense that Taiwan would want in on the action. This is very much a romantic drama (not a comedy) and I think that the tone is similar to Autumn Concerto. I’m not familiar with any of the actors so I’m watching it entirely for the story line.

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The episode starts off with a ballet audition.  A pretty woman performs with proud parents watching and when she’s done, her younger sister compliments her performance. She’s not very receptive and her sister doesn’t have time to dwell on it because she’s performing next.

We also see the first performer’s father leave her mom’s side to sit next to another woman. So while the younger sister performs, her parents sit together and cheer for her. What we have is one man with two daughters by two different women. And later on, it’s clear that he’s still married to the older sister’s mother making him a very trifling man. A trifling man who appears to favor his younger daughter’s mother.

The father wants all five of them to have dinner together but his bitchy wife isn’t receptive. The younger daughter, Hai Lun, takes a walk to stay out of the drama and her sister follows suit. Hai Lun eventually goes to an art exhibition hosted by a company run by our male lead, Xi Wei, whom her older sister, You Xi, knows.

Long story short, there’s a fire and she ends up saving his life. She also succeeds at the audition. Then we watch them fall in love as they go on romantic dates.

They watch a tragic romance on one notable date where she feels that the characters would have been better off never falling in love if it meant that they needed to make great sacrifices and both couldn’t find happiness. He thinks differently, believing that it’s better to love even if one has to die for the other to find happiness.

We flash forward five years to 2013 where Hai Lun is the principal ballerina on a show called Second Movement.  Xi Wei watches her dance and it’s clear that he’s still very much in love with her and that Hai Lun’s sister, You Xi, wants him for herself.

Hai Lun has a press conference after the show where she’s coy about her love life. Xi Wei stands a few feet away as she describes her ideal man who’s obviously him. Then she faints and he runs to her, clueing the press in on their relationship.

But it’s nothing worrisome because the fainting spell was caused by the life growing inside her. Back in 2008, Xi Wei had already made it clear that he wanted to marry her so he’s excited about the child and proposes to her.  He tells her that the dream for his company is to have all their customers feel like they are the “only one” in the world. Then he gives her a ring he’d designed himself – the “only one” of its kind –  for the woman that he wants to always be the  “only one” for him.

She also has a gift for him. She shows him the bracelet on her wrist with the word “Bliss” written on it. It’s a childhood gift from her mother that she hasn’t taken off because it’s always given her courage and hope. Realistically, a young girl’s bracelet shouldn’t fit a grown man’s wrist but we’ll just go with it. She gives it to him and says that she’d  like to name their child Bliss.

They are both in high spirits on the drive home, happy to be with the love of their lives. But unfortunately, a drunk truck driver runs them off the road and they get into an accident. There’s blood between Hai Lun’s legs but Xi Wei is more hurt. He musters the little energy he has to tell her that he’s like the character of the movie they saw. He won’t regret loving her then he returns her bracelet, telling her to be happy. And dies.

Hai Lun stays with her mother after she’s discharged from the hospital. Even though she puts on a brave face, her mom sees through it and begs her to find courage to live again. Apparently, although she constantly cooks, she doesn’t eat anything. Her bright smile is still on when her father arrives but instead of sitting with them to eat, she goes out for a walk. The second she steps out of the house, her bright face fades into a depressed one.

She walks on a bridge then dances one last time for Xi Wei who loved it so much. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she tells her beloved that she doesn’t want to live in a world without him. Then she jumps off the bridge and lands in a strange place.

She meets some wizard-type that says that the length of one’s life is determined by time while one’s worth is determined by what they do. And that seeking happiness from material wealth is one of the greatest tragedies of life. Okay…? Then he flies over to her with one of the worst special effects I’ve seen in recent times.

Anyway, she arrived in this place because her heart was still wavering when she left the world. He gives her several options, one of which is to go back in time and change her life. The one caveat is that she’d have to give up her most precious possession. As she’d already lost it, it doesn’t seem like a huge price to pay.

The man warns her that change doesn’t guarantee happiness but she says that she can live without it as long as Xi Wei is happy so chooses to go back to the moment before there was love.

She arrives back in the burning building and saves his life again. It’s different this time because while she’s a stranger to him, she still has the memories of their love.

She remembers that he had chosen to die to give her happiness so between sobs, she says it’s her turn to give him happiness. She takes off her bracelet and puts it in his pocket saying that she doesn’t mind if he doesn’t recognize or love her as long as he’s happy.

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The episode was filled with overly romantic scenes but that’s okay because it’s a drama.

Other than sticking to what she said when she watched the tragic romance, why go to the moment before love and not to the proposal and avoid the accident? I suppose that would be because she wouldn’t have given up her cherished love.

Then he died to give her happiness but she was very miserable although “happiness” here is more symbolic and also tied to her bracelet.

Her sister will be a big problem and might date  Xi Wei but ultimately, the story is obviously about if our leads can fall in love and avoid tragedy the second time around.

The upcoming episodes will determine if this gets on our recap schedule but I enjoyed the first episode. It was quite romantic and set up the story nicely. The chemistry between the leads was also good so I’m interested in seeing what they are like when the feelings are unrequited.

The real story begins in the second episode so I hope it’s great.

1 Comment

  • Reply November 10, 2013

    glitterize

    I think I have come to have an aversion to Taiwanese dramas. There used to be a time that they were up there, rivaling Kdramas in popularity. But, now I would watch a Hong Kong/Chinese Drama, heck a Thailand drama, maybe even a Filipino drama, before a Taiwanese drama. T-dramas have gotten so stale, boring, draggy and cheap. Cheap look, poor acting, draggy plots, silly female leads with annoying accents etc. etc. etc. I just can’t with them anymore. All the hyped T-dramas this year have basically been unwatchable. Sorry to rant on here, but had to get that off my chest.

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