A little while ago Dee wrote this comment on my previous post about Loved in the Purple / The Purple Hairpin (紫钗奇缘):
I endured all the way to the end hoping for a final twist in the plot but it was disappointing.. If you have not finished this series, don’t waste any more of your time..
At the time I had another 6 episodes to go and surprisingly between about episode 13 to maybe episode 30 I was actually enjoying this drama. I was expecting the ending to be bad, but didn’t expect it to be THIS BAD!!! >< I can only recommend this drama for Raymond or Michelle fans. If you’re a fan of the RM ship, proceed with caution – it will be extremely frustrating. Actually, shippers should just stop watching after their ‘fake’ marriage and accept it as canon.
Since this is a post about the ending there’ll be spoilers galore!
Throughout this drama I’ve had issues with TVB’s editors who made lots of cuts to the drama from its original 43 episodes to 37. I know without watching the original I can’t be sure whether it’s just bad story telling or bad editing, but let’s just say I never really felt any strong feelings between Michelle Ye’s Xiao Yu and Raymond Lam’s Nalan Dong. So when it was revealed (at episode 23) that Xiao Yu and Nalan Dong were actually half siblings (they share the same mother), I was kinda hoping maybe Nalan Dong can finally develop feelings for Jing Lan (Tammy Chen), who has been in love with him since the early episodes and just a great character anyway. Even though she tends to disappear for a few episodes at a time, she always appear at critical moments to save our main characters.
Plus my preference for Nalan Dong x Lu Jing Lan reminds me of a pair I shipped SO SO hard many years ago. I think it was the only Raymond Lam drama I have ever truly shipped him and another character. That drama was 2004’s Twin of Brothers! In there his character was also originally in love with one of the female leads (Tavia Yeung) but after experiencing many adventures / life and death situations with the secondary lead (Li Qian), he eventually falls in love with her and chose her at the end. OK, so I have digressed a bit here but really, I won’t be complaining if the writers did take the story down this other route. Because after Nalan Dong found out Xiao Yu is his sister, he breaks up with her without telling her why and went on this quest to find out more about his family history. And who was there with him? Jing Lan. Despite her father’s objections, she secretly went with Nalan Dong to help him.
Since I’m here writing / ranting about the ending of course it didn’t turn out that way. I understand that not all dramas can have happy endings but Loved in the Purple just took tragedy to a new level. It just feel like everyone had bad endings just for the sake of it. I don’t really see any overarching message or meaning behind most of it. (Except ok, the bad guys had to die – I get it.)
Xiao Yu and Nalan Dong
Well, even before I started watching this drama I knew they wouldn’t end up together. I was thinking once it was revealed they’re siblings there’s nowhere this relationship could go? Unless it turns out they’re not siblings at all? Well GUESS WHAT? Depends on which version you watched, the ending is different!
In the last few minutes of the final episode, Nalan Dong leaves to continue his nomadic life, while Xiao Yu ended up with Li Yi (they were already married a few eps before). Insert a scene where Xiao Yu’s mother reflect on what a sad tale everything was…
Original version – there’s a flashback where it was revealed the “real” Xiao Yu actually died when she was a baby so she switched her with another baby in the household. After all this angst, they are not actually brother and sister! WTH!
TVB version – this flashback was deleted so if I just watched this version Xiao Yu / Nalan Dong would’ve remained as siblings?
I don’t know which ending is worst? Despite their love they can’t be together because they *THINK* they’re siblings… or they can’t be together because they’re actually siblings? I don’t really understand why the mother chose not to tell them anyway. She’s the one who can clear up everything but instead of just reminiscing on how “tragic” everything is, why doesn’t she just say something? Is this her way to ‘ultimate revenge’? Afterall, Xiao Yu is her enemy’s daughter. But at the very beginning she was against Xiao Yu / Li Yi because she WANTED her daughter to be with Nalan Dong? See how it all doesn’t really make sense?
Lu Jing Lan x Nalan Dong
So despite my bias for this couple I knew I was only dreaming they will end up together. But geez, everyone in this drama had a tragic ending but maybe Jing Lan had the most tragic of them all. In the last few episodes, there was this WTH subplot about someone just invading the palace and decided he’s going to become Emperor. On one occasion to save the princess (Nalan Dong’s mother), Jing Lan was raped!!!! The poor girl! So of course after that she doesn’t think she’s good enough for Nalan Dong anymore and avoids him.
After his mother told him about what happened, Nalan Dong felt obligated to propose to her. Originally, she was touched by his gesture (not caring about she was raped etc) and they hugged… so let’s just say I was surprised. Is this actually a happy ending for them? Even though Nalan Dong never really loved Jing Lan, two wounded souls accompanying each other is not so bad? RIGHT????
NOOOOO. Guess what. After even more deaths (more on that below), Jing Lan’s father – who has been the evil guy for the latter part of this drama has been banished to the faraway countryside and eventually killed by one of his enemies, we see Nalan Dong all packed up like he’s going away somewhere at the front of Jing Lan’s house. He asks the servants to give a letter to Jing Lan and they tell him she already left, to somewhere far far away and probably won’t return soon.
At least she dumped him before he has the chance to disappoint her, AGAIN. ARGH, I’m assuming he’s giving her a breakup letter? After everything that happened he wants to go back on his promise again? I’m throwing daggers at this guy. And I’ve been on his side for most of this drama. Ohhh I so had enough with you writers.
And… everyone else
Since a lot of the story also focused on Xiao Yu’s two best friends, with the three dubbed – “Most beautiful entertainers / dancers / singers in Chang An”, in the theme of tragic endings both of the other girls Yi Long and Mo Yu also died.
Mo Yu was pretty much the most kind hearted and innocent of the trio but she also had a very tough life. When her father had gambling debts she was sold to some rich man to be his ‘wife’. And even when she did find a man who loves her, he did all sorts of weird / evil things which meant he can’t escape death either. Since she doesn’t want to live without him, she died with him.
Yi Long – the more cynical one, who never truly trusted anyone but herself, found someone who understood her (Wei Bo Wen) but because of their own ambitions, they could never be together. Can’t say I’ve ever sympathised with Wei Bo Wen at any stage of the drama but it became quite wacky when he decided to stick a knife in Yi Long before killing himself.
Talking about whacky deaths, this has to take the cake. This is Yi Long’s mother (who actually looks like her sister at best, but let’s just assume in ancient times people have children early) – I won’t explain the circumstances in detail, since it’s also rather whacky but she decided to kill herself by… running into a pole. OK, it’s more like a big beam that’s holding up a building, but still. What? One bang and she’s dead. Usually in ancient dramas people kill themselves pretty gracefully with a knife across their necks, jumping into a river, take some poison, hang yourself and whatnot, running into a big pole is just unintentionally hilarious.
I’m fairly certain I started this post at least 3 weeks ago. Right after I finished this drama I just had to write down this rant. Now that I’ve had time to think things over (and rewatched the final episode) the annoyance still remains. Do I regret watching this? I can’t say it was a complete waste of time because it did remind me why I became a Raymond Lam fangirl years ago. His subtlety and crying scenes bring back all these feels! But at the end of the day, I don’t think the story as a whole was interesting enough (it’s not really a “grand adventure” type story?) to sustain so many episodes. I’m thinking about writing another post about this drama but that would depend whether I’m still motivated to talk about it.