de Greenlemon, Novembro 7, 2018

Initial thoughts on The Eternal Love 2 

This analysis contains spoilers, so please read at your own accord

Episodes 1 & 2 - Recaps

It all starts with a Fast & Furious car chase in a Hawaiian-Esque island waterline setting.

Black Jeep, White Audi & a black unknown car. Black jeep stops, Qu Xiao (Liang Jie) Tan gets out of the car, rushes to a ravine & jumps into the angry waves below. Mo Lian Cheng (Xing Zhao Lin) jumps in after her. Props to the set managers, the directors & the advertisers. The black jeep is incredible and the contrast with the white Audi is a spot on Yin & Yang.

Back to the Future. The 8th Prince has been searching for Tan-Er/Qu Xiao Tan for a year while keeping himself busy mastering all types of modern technology, getting up-to-date with contemporary life and building himself a prosperous business as an antique dealer. This makes sense considering who Mo Lian Cheng actually is and the knowledge he has of ancient artifacts. Heck, he used to live with them on his walls, adorning his living space... Even sleeping in them - his ancient bed is an artifact.

Mo Lian Cheng eventually finds Tan-Er who has no recollection of him at all. It’s not that she lost her memory, it's just that she has no memory of him as her old self Qu Xiao Tan. The Qu Xiao Tan, who hasn’t traveled back in time, who hasn’t met the 8th Prince, fallen in love with him, and bore him a son, that Qu Xiao Tan.

It’s funny how, of course, they meet at his house, a very modern building with large windows, a swimming pool and very simple, well-defined lines that will make contemporary architecture fans really envious! 

Mo Lian Cheng pretends to forget how to get inside his own home so that Qu Xiao Tan has to climb the wall – aw, all those flashbacks to the past when they met… She atop a wall, he walking by… The present-day Mo Lian Cheng smiles at this recollection… She gets peeved at seeing him inside, he tells her to get down.

Of course, she falls, of course, he’s there to catch her and…to drop her on the floor. Priceless!

The sweet moments continue... on one occasion he picks her up for dinner at her house and takes her to a dining room out of an 18th Century French chateau, seating her at one end of the table, then taking his place at the other end. They exchange pleasantries similar in style and context to those exchanged in a modern day adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, with the camera moving from one to the other instead of focusing on the rather empty table and the ancient portraits on the wall. The waiters start the service à l'anglaise, very formal. Remembering how much Qu Xiao Tan loves to eat, Mo Lian Cheng asks one of the waiters to give her his own meal. So much cuteness is a fan's blessing.

Fast-forward to the end of the evening, both enter his beautiful car, exchanging looks when Mo Lian Cheng senses something bad coming and acts on instinct: protect Qu Xiao Tan. That's adorable but, it's not the night's pinnacle. The evening's highlight is when they’re in his white Audi, in a dark, deserted road, in the middle of nowhere and he senses something, so he pushes her out of the door...

... and we see a large household appliance kind of thing fall on top of the car, totally wrecking it. She calls for help and it magically appears in the shape and form of sinister individualssuddenly coming out from different places, moving towards the car with the appliance or whatever on top. It’s bizarre! There's no other word for it, at least not one that makes sense.

What’s more ludicrous is the fact that Mo Lian Cheng apparently is still in the car and doing blazingly well. He might be like a cat and have seven lives but, even a cat sitting in the front seat of a car that just got bulldozed by a large appliance would not survive unscathed, if he survived at all. So here is Mo Lian Cheng completely fine because that makes complete sense! If two cents had to be thrown in, this was a consequence of Wuxia style Austin powers unbeknownst to mere mortals. There's another theory though:  making the audience guess why on earth hasn’t Mo Lian Cheng gotten out of the car? Possible answers: one, maybe this scene was developed to produce a ‘what the hell moment’; or two the screenwriters really loved Train to Busan and wanted to partially emulate it,  motivating the audience to watch it. A zombie invasion  here would work, did work, so, note to other historical drama producers, next time, make it a full movie with a profusion of eximius creepy eeriness scenes or better of, how about remaking the movie and call it Train to Dongyue Kingdom?

Qu Xiao Tan gets really touched by Mo Lian Cheng’s gesture though. Who wouldn't, being rescued from an unknown source of evil without knowing and, from sustaining deathly injuries like the ones he sustained in the car from the weight of that large thing on top of him. It was a very romantic and poetic moment, which Mo Lian Cheng took as an encouragement to captivate her even more. The issue is that some people prefer to take things slow while others mentally drive without a care or speed limit in the Autobahn. When that happens, it doesn't normally bode well for the relationship. Mo Lian Cheng was so eager to have Qu Xiao Tan next to him, he didn't understand that sleeping in bed next to her might be a bit too fast for her, especially as she hasn’t chosen to sleep with him, and that is meant literally.

Mo Lian Cheng's actions, although not right are easy to comprehend: Qu Xiao Tan was his wife and mother of his son; in another time and place of course, but they were husband and wife so he might not have believed he was treading on eggshells. He might have also been overwhelmed by his love and his emotions for her. Yet, for a smart man, he’s rather dumb when it comes to the woman he loves! Mo Lian Cheng's love cannot be used as an excuse to do things to others without their consent, not in modern times! He doesn't seem to care a whit, nor does he seem to grasp that she doesn't want to talk to him on the phone at all.

His constant phone pestering, the never ending calls become really icky and to a point that's kind of iffy. 

We get that he loves her; we get that he wants her by his side; we get that he wants her to fall in love with him again. We get all that, but, if he wants to get her back, there are other ways of doing so. He seems to get the picture and goes to her house alone, without the chocolate or the flowers for that matter, and when he realizes she’s not there, he takes pestering to the stalking level by doing the unthinkable: hacking into her social media account to find out where she was. 

Really??? During all that catching up to the present-day way of living, he hasn’t learnt that logging into someone’s social media account is a crime??? Mo Lian Cheng does save Qu Xiao Tan from her demon date, who ends up poisoning her red drink, taking her to an abandoned shack where she half lays asleep on an old cheap wooden table, waiting for our hero to rescue her. 

Of course, there are lackeys around: one with a knife, one with a large blade, one with a fire extinguisher and another one with a baseball bat, all ready to party and take Mo Lang Sheng down. Also, there is a table with enough bottles of wine to delight a Michelin star restaurant clientele during dinner service, completely untouched.

What a shame. We could have had Mo Lian Cheng breaking bottles and kicking ass, imagine that! How beautiful it would be, how epic, but nahh… However, we do have Mo Lian Cheng kicking ass alone as he’s the hero and with a baseball bat. As everyone knows, a baseball bat is a lot more intense and profound than cracking open a bottle of red wine. Perhaps, just perhaps, if the wine had been involved, the acting would be more high end rather than low. Time for the demon to hone in his acting prowess with a performance coach, and for the lackeys to practice their kick-ass skills maybe by taking martial arts lessons? Practice makes perfect, Practice, lots of it!

Qu Xiao Tan wakes up in Mo Lian Cheng’s bed with him again. 

She is not happy. Come on, it’s the second time he has her on his bed and this time she has had enough. She leaves and he mulls over her reaction, if he tells her the truth about who he is and who she is or what back in ancient times and all that they have gone through. Ultimately, he does tell her, when they meet on a sidewalk for him to sign some papers. Of course, she doesn’t believe him, telling him not to mistake her for someone else in another time and she leaves. Here comes the black Jeep from that earlier Fast & Furious chase. It parks ahead on the road and a woman hypnotizes Xiao Tan into entering the car, which she does, and we go back to the beginning of episode one and the chase. 

One can never have too many repeats of that car pursuit, nor the Jeep or the white Audi – it must be another one as the first one was totally wrecked. Maybe the production team wanted to show that Audi’s are so cheap and affordable that anyone, anywhere can purchase one without going bankrupt or mortgaging their family’s home to own one. Audi’s… so so so cheap!

The story comes full circle by going back to the beginning when Qu Xiao Tan jumped from the ravine into that angry ocean and after kicking ass once again, this time literally and just one bad guy, Mo Lian Cheng followed her into the ocean, and we have both leads underwater but not together...

... Back to the past, to the time before Eternal Love took place, with Mo Yi Huai, the 1st Prince (Richards Wang), confessing his love to Tan Er and wanting to marry her. One wonders if The Eternal Love 2 is actually a prequel to Eternal Love 1 which at this point, is what it looks like we’re in for: a prequel, not a sequel with the whole gang from Eternal Love reprising their roles. That’s great, but it’s not, not really. That’s not what fans have signed up for.

The emperor sits on his throne. Mo Yi Huai visits and is told that he has to marry the Qu family's daughter, the first daughter Qu Pan Er (Zhong Qi), not Qu Tan Er. He's not happy. Underwater, Mo Lian Cheng comes face to face with his ancient times' persona. Underwater bubbles appear and a change of setting back to where the emperor and Mo Yi Huai are having a conversation.

 Mo Lian Cheng enters the room and finds out that his brother is to be wed to Qu Pan Er.In Tan Er’s bedroom, her father is calling her stupid. What else would he call her? Dear beloved daughter? She’s lying down, unmoving in bed. Her father is so sad, and her sister is there in the room and is crying her eyes out in a pool of tears. No, don’t get your hopes up. This is not true. Qu Pan Er only cares about herself and how the fact that Tan Er was there in bed lifeless was not her fault. The doctor arrives, and Tan Er is declared dead. Nothing can be done to save her, then she suddenly wakes up with… dum, dum, dum… amnesia. Except that it's not Tan Er that wakes up, dumm dum, dum... it's Qu Xiao Tan.

Mo Lian Cheng, the modern-day one, wakes up in a lake somewhere in an unknown time, while his ancient counterpart is in the past. This will be interesting!

Thoughts so far:

Wow! These 2 episodes were a real roller coaster, and I’m not sure whether I truly enjoyed the ride. There was so much hype around The Eternal Love 2 that somehow, I felt it was a heavy burden to carry into this second part of the story, or better, Eternal Love 0 aka Eternal Love the Prequel. This is what my question was at the end of episode 2. Is this a prequel? Or is this a sequel which includes a prequel? My brain kept doing flip-flops, and I was utterly bereft of logic. Was there one? Where was it in all of this?

Mo Lian Cheng and Qu Xiao Tan in modern-day, that’s how S1 ended. After that, writers wanted to shake things a bit, so the plot showcased both leads in current times but before they met in ancient times. This is also fine, and I liked the black Jeep and the white Audi, although I find a black Audi much more classy, elegant and dashing than a white one, but that’s a personal choice. 

Mu Lian Sheng is trying to ‘seduce’ Qu Xiao Tan and the throwbacks to Eternal Love were really pretty and swell. Thumbs up to the producers for the fan service. This is what fans signed up for after all, adorable endearing moments between the leads.

Bad guys and paranormal demons like those encountered in the CW shows like Charmed, Vampire Diaries and so forth, albeit with minimal special effects are okay. Poor martial arts skills and acting can be forgiven. After all, it’s crucial to have baddies in a drama, even the awful ones at that, otherwise the story would be too bland, monotonic and tedius. Eternal Love and boring are not three words that should ever be together in a sentence.

Twists and turns and back to the past before the leads met and having Tan Er, that is Qu Xiao Tan having amnesia, is taking things a bit too far. Amnesia is so cliché, it’s annoying. And the prequel… Why? The meaning of that here is as baffling as trying to figure out what will happen with the modern-day Mo Lian Cheng and the relationship between the ancient 8th Prince with Qu Xiao Tan prior to Eternal Love. 

Let's not forget Tan Er. Where is she? Is she back sharing her body with Xiao Tan? Is she completely gone? Hopefully there will be some answers to this. That must be right? Otherwise Eternal Love 2 would bear no relevance to Eternal Love story wise and that would be a shame.

It’s unclear where the story is going from here, but it will be interesting to find out. Let's just hope no more roller coasters, please! It's enough! Just give fans what they want: the cuddly fluffy pink togetherness between the leads and Qu Xiao Tan's endless shenanigans that provoke a plethora of chronic giggles in the audience, intrigue the 8th Prince and  amuse Mo Lian Cheng! No need to re-re-invent the wheel again and again and again with acute repetitive plot lines and intrinsic twists of fate to maintain interest, engagement and social media buzz! It's not necessary! Minimalism anyone?  Less is more!

Share your thoughts and your comments below!