Having watched The Destiny of Madam White Snake by Allen Ren, I decided to watch his other drama, Detective Dee. The plot got thicker with the mysterious King Qianlong who kept putting in obstacles and making use of Di Renjie. The love story of Di Renjie and Murong Qing was difficult to watch after a while.
They kept meeting each other and separating with vows (useless vows) to stop seeing each other. Some comments in Drama Cool did mention that it seemed to focus on the love story rather than the mysterious cases. Other than that, certainly can see that Allen Ren is younger (he filmed this in 2014) and the series was only released in 2017. I think I prefer his hairstyle in this version than in The Destiny of Madam White Snake.
Anyway, this drama is about getting Wu Zetian / Wu Mei Niang at this point to the palace. Before she can return to the palace, she was accused of the death of the imperial doctor. This begins the series of deaths with relation to the person, Luo Hong Cheng 罗洪城 (the Chinese characters might be wrong) who created the 6 items that were powerful enough to control the world. Apparently, in such dramas, the entire world belongs to the emperor.
So, before the death of the imperial doctor, Murong Qing and Di Renjie were apparently on a truce until the death of her aunt. Thus, the beginnings of the angst-filled meetups between Murong Qing and Di Renjie. I wanted to strangle both of them at times. However, I do admire that their love for each other is so strong that they get hurt in the process of trying to save each other.
Wu Mei Niang was really a gentle and kind lady in this version. I wonder if the historians were upset that she had the smarts to run the country for over a decade that they didn’t praise her and wrote her history as a tyrant instead. Since the beginning of time, women have always played 2nd fiddle to men despite the fact that some were/are great leaders.
Back to the series, despite the angst-filled torture, I find that Emperor Gaozong to be someone who is unable to make decisions on his own and yet want to be able to make his decisions without people objecting. Think Zhangsun Wuji, his longtime officer serving 3 emperors. Zhangsun Wuji is one long lasting guy who managed to outlive 3 emperors. There were times when I hated his character but then on hindsight, it could be his prejudice against women holding positions with power. Being an emperor at that time was really a power position to be in.
What the drama got wrong was that Li Tai, the elder brother to the emperor, was obese in reality. In the drama, he was portrayed as someone who had the mannerism of a gentle person. Close to being effeminate. My mind is blown. This is basically a 46-episode drama. Drama Cool managed to break it into a 30 minutes per episode, so, on Drama Cool, it is now a 66-episode edition.
I so hate the ending theme song though. It sounds so ominous.