This is insane. DTLY is insane. Rainie is insane. Joseph is insane. I am INSANE!
That’s exactly what Ep 5 of DTLY did to me, made me a total insane wreck! &)($&(_*#_)#*)_#*# Read a lot of good reviews before I watched the episode, and I had my expectations up before I clicked play. Was expecting good stuff, and was prepared to go AWWW and all. But what did I not expect? To be so emotionally touched and gratified by this episode that every single scene with JX and XR together had me on the verge of tears. No joke!
This episode proved to me that good script-writing is really one of the crucial elements to making a drama a good drama. Very true. Writing capable of bringing out SO MANY emotive and moving moments. Lines which are capable of striking that inner chord inside your heart. Scenes which make you laugh out loud in one and cry your heart out in another. All those meshed up together, you have an absolute win. And Ep 5 of DTLY did all that in a go. It was just sheer brilliance.
I’m an easy person to satisfy when it comes to rom-coms. You give me laughter and tears (which are convincing enough), I’m all good. You give me good enough lead chemistry, I’m on board the ship anytime. You give me solid enough acting, hey, that’s even better. But if you add a lil bit more into that, and make me feel for the characters, ache for the characters, and connect emotionally with the characters, you’ve already gained a fan in me. Ep 5 just struck every single bit of the above and made me feel every single moment that JX and XR were going thru. Their scenes made me laugh incessantly. Filled my eyes with tears. And made me bawl like a kid. All in different scenes, and all in 1 single episode.
The amazing thing about DTLY is that everything feels real. Not real in realistic sense, but real as in that you actually can feel and relate to what the characters are going through. A natural and comfy vibe that you don’t always get from watching dramas. I’ve always viewed TW dramas, rom-coms in particular, as very OTT, sugary (cheesy I mean) and overkill. They are still and probably will always be. DTLY is no different and has touches of cheesiness and OTT that may turn some off, drive viewers away. But that’s a side point, when the emotional journey of the characters really take it up from there and hits you wham and bam that you’d forgot that the cheesiness or OTT-ness ever ticked you off.
Putting the crackling chemistry of Joseph and Rainie aside, which really is the driving force of the drama apart from the writing, the characters themselves really amaze me. Of course they’re stereotyped i.e. JX being the richer and higher status-ed and XR being the poorer (but tougher and determined) one. But they are essentially different than a lot of TW rom-com leads that I’ve seen. They argue and bicker non-stop. They tease each other and make fun of each other. They even fight over stuff like kids. But then, you realize that when they argue, they always learn something from each other. They always say things which pierce right thru the heart of the other and wake him/her up from their ignorance and naivete. They unknowingly and unconsciously say things and do things for the other person (like my dear friend ockoala commented in her recaps of DTLY). With no pretense, guise or any cover. What they do for each other, now even in a platonic stage of their relationship, is what makes them different. And you can see their maturity evolve into something more when they’re both together. In short, when they argue, it’s all about and for the other person. (*ockoala chinggu, I quoted your words faithfully. heeee*)
Ep 5 was a moderate paced episode, with a lot of emotional developments in XR and JX’s relationship and their respective relationships with YX and Avril. It dealt with inner torment and turmoil of the characters. It gave us a ride into both XR and JX’s inner thoughts, on how their respective relationships had impacted their lives. On how they’d lived their lives trying to accommodate their loved ones and to make them happy but lost themselves in the process. I like that JX always has something to say to XR when she mellows over the loss of YX to Peggy. All the words he says to XR, tho hurtful and filled with thorns, they all make XR realize that she can do better and deserves better. One particular line that I really really liked: “He has no right to take your future and bury it along with your hurtful past”. I literally bawled my eyes out when he said that (yeah I’m a super emo person). How close to heart and comforting that was to XR? How impactful was that? She didn’t care right there and then, but deep down inside she knew. She knew how spineless she was and how pathetic she was. JX understood and tried to get her out. I really really liked that.
The more I watch of JX and XR, the more I echo the words said in the preview by JX to XR: ” With you, I am complete”. Isn’t that just symbolic to how both XR and JX compliment each other in all ways? Not in a romantic sense per se, but in the context of how both of them understand each other in the tiniest ways possible. The recent episodes, in particular this episode, showed how much JX understood XR as a person, and I like that he admits this wholeheartedly to XR (sorta like bragging but you get me). XR on the other hand genuinely cares about JX but doesn’t really know that she’s slowing inching closer toward his heart. All she knows is that her husband is in trouble and she needs to help him out. It’s like she’s oblivious to a budding concern that she has for JX and just continues to shower him with support. In a nutshell, you just feel that they are COMPLETE in each others’ presence. (Of course 7 days is a tad exaggerating in RL, but I’m okay with that hee.)
Both Joseph and Rainie blew my mind with their acting in here. Rainie showed how emotionally engrossed she was with her character XR, and Joseph showed his conflicting emotions with sheer conviction. I know a lot of people have mostly been heaping praises for Rainie, and I think they are very well deserved and fitting for what she’d been bringing to the plate so far. That scene of her breaking down on the couch in front of JX, wasn’t that the most heart-wrenching you’ve ever seen? That scene there ALONE is enough to win her an award. Joseph on the other hand is relatively unknown and un-mentioned so far. But I think he deserves as much credit and accolade as Rainie is getting. The way he emotes is somewhat a bit different, and has stiffness and awkwardness meshed together at times. But I think that’s exactly what is setting him apart from all the other TW idol actors out there. He’s notably different, but has a very intriguing charm about him. And I would even go as far to say that he’s the one who’s bringing out the best in Rainie. Rainie once said that Joseph is a very special actor in that the way he acts actually gets her into character and makes her want to do more for her character. Coming from Rainie, do you still not get the point? They perfect each other!
Avril is a character that I’m indifferent to. I do not hate her, but neither do I have any liking or pity toward her situation. JX may have fallen for another girl, and may not admit it wholeheartedly, and heck, he may even be wrong in the eyes of the norm. But then remember what you said Avril? You gave him the go, when he told you that he’s human and he might side-track and do something wrong. You basically persuaded him to enter into that contract marriage (when initially it wasn’t one to begin with, just a mistake prolonged from drunken-ness). And now you’re falling into that wrath which you solely created for yourself. Blame JX? Yes he’s wrong for having wavered in his feelings. But please re-think and recall what you have done for JX, and what you have done TO him. All those years.
Now that this new guy is in the picture, it’d be interesting to see how JX and Avril’s relationship will go from here. It’s interesting because while I think JX has a thing for XR, he still considers Avril a part of him and his life. When he mentioned that he didn’t need Avril anymore, I was quite doubtful. Did he say that out of anger? Or was it true? Why did he ask Avril not to leave with the other model after that? I saw tears in his eyes, what did that mean? Were they mere tears of regret? Regret that their love had in fact faded and were long gone? What do you think? A hopeful me would like to see JX deal with the dilemma, in having to decide on whether to follow his heart (obviously with XR now) and to re-assess his relationship with Avril. The least thing we need is another wishy-washy guy who doesn’t know what he wants and one who dilly dallies between 2 women.
I wonder now if Yi Xiang is totally out of the picture, given his lack of presence in the recent episodes. So far he has only appeared in the first 2 episodes and in XR’s flashbacks. With another character Geng Shi Huai (to be played by Xiao Gui) to appear soon, I wonder how would that round up the relationship chart of the characters. Frankly, I am a bit wary and bothered by the fact that another character might be coming into JX-XR’s relationship. We already have enough supporting characters (Yi Xiang, Peggy, Avril and the handsome film star) to complicate things, the least we need is another “mysterious” character to add to the contrivances of the plot. Hopefully the writer can make it good. *please please please*
All in all, I think DTYL is nothing about contract marriage/fake marriage or near that. The premise is but the context is way beyond that. DTLY never delves deep into the haywire circumstances revolving contract/fake marriages (look at Lie To Me ,total absurdity) and it never gets its characters into situations requiring them to lie to cover up. All it does is make us see, understand and feel how 2 people can find consolation and comfort amidst a complicated relationship. A journey of recovering from heartbreak through the help of someone you’d never expect.
Last but not least, Ep 6 preview! Tell me who is not looking forward to that? It’s weird because unlike a lot of people who expressed their excitement about what’s to come, I actually felt a sense of calmness and comfort. I guess I know Ep 6 will blow my mind again and I will end up an emotional wreck (again). It will be good no doubt, so why not just sit down and relax until Sunday comes? (yeah right, I hope)
Photo credits: DTLY Facebook group / baidu