[Review] Q Series: Life Plan A and B (植劇場 – 荼蘼)

Synopsis:
Zheng Ru Wei is arrives at a crossroad where she has to choose between working in Shanghai to further her career and maintain a long-distance relationship or sacrifice her career and stay behind. Plan A and B follows both life choices and shows us the effects and consequences of both.

Plan A: Ru Wei leaves for Shanghai while leaving behind her longtime boyfriend You Yan and advances in her career.

Plan B: Ru Wei gives up the opportunity and stayed behind to be with You Yan and look after his parents.

Review:
I’m a huge fan of Rainie Yang ever since I was younger and I’m so glad to see her big comeback in this series. I was attracted to the drama mostly because of Rainie Yang but when I saw the synopsis for the series, I was in! The plot seemed unique and the drama gave me much more than I had expected. Very different from most TW dramas that I’ve seen, and from Rainie’s other usual shows. The script gave Rainie an opportunity to show her full potential as an actress and to shut all those people who’ve complained about her acting. Though I think if she can pull off a character like Xiao Hua (Miss No Good) and make her likable, she can definitely act.

With only 6 episodes, it leaves little space for the drama to be dragged out (which is a good thing) and despite the slow pace of the series it had six episodes of full-on intensity and unexpected (sometimes expected) turn of events that just hit you in the gut. The characters were well-written, even the minors ones, full of flaws that made them feel so real and relatable. Both Ru Wei and You Yan are so complex that it’s really hard to pinpoint what their characters are. The drama focuses mostly on Ru Wei’s point of view, especially in the first few episodes which may put You Yan in a bad light (though I’ve always kind of like him) but it goes on to show his point of view and the struggles that he went through.

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Plan A:
I was always leaning towards Plan A even till the end and I realised that Plan A was the more popular choice as compared to B. Probably a reflection of today’s women and modern society. So anyway I felt Plan A was a tad too unrealistic and more character-driven as compared to B. In that alot of the things that happened came out of Ru Wei’s bad decision-making. I later realised this timeline was to explore Ru Wei’s own selfishness and how it led to her loneliness and struggles. Johnny Lu as Eason is just perfect though. He was smart and charismatic, teaching Ru Wei the ropes of making money. His character was quite mysterious in that you don’t really know what his character really is until the every end. I wasn’t really a fan of him though and never really shipped them.

Her second love interest was played by Andy Wu as Zhao Hui, a young chef who constantly cooked for Ru Wei even after the store is already closing. Despite his short screen time in the series, I really really shipped them both! His youth sort of represented Ru Wei’s own youth and naivety at that age where you’ve yet to experience what real life is really like (though I beg to differ). And I hated what happened to him but I guess that was the point. Life is a b****.

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Plan B:
I really disliked You Yan in Plan B though. I felt like Plan B was also more realistic and well-written. It felt really really relatable in that even an unhappy facial expression is enough to cause another round of fights. Here, Ru Wei is constantly compromising and sacrificing herself for both You Yan and his family while getting little gratitude and appreciation in return. I think the one that really irked me wasn’t exactly You Yan but You Yan’s mother and sister. I mean, You Yan did give up a lot as well and the way he treated Ru Wei wasn’t acceptable but just human. His mother, however, could’ve treated her better at least? While her own daughter just laze around at home and mope. Omg. So so annoying. And that scene when Ru Wei was giving birth. Urgh, really.

I felt so much for Ru Wei in this timeline. It really shows how unpredictable life can be despite you constantly giving up for others and your family. Always compromising and having to come up with another backup plan. It was hard to hate You Yan despite the way he’s treated Ru Wei. He had a lot on his plate as well being the head of the family and having to take responsibility of the entire household. But Ru Wei had her own share of struggles and regrets which we all do. There were a few moments where the intensity and emotions was just too much that I shed a few tears with them. Plan B also poses the question of, is it all worth it?

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Final Thoughts:
I felt like though I was leaning more towards Plan A, Plan B was much better written as compared to A and felt more relatable. Maybe it was why I was leaning towards Plan A.  Guilt, gratitude and sacrifice were three very big themes in the series along with marriage, love and decision-making.The series wrapped up nicely with both timelines, though I thought the end for Plan A was a little lackluster as compared to Plan B. At the end, the question still remains; which is the better sacrifice, and was it all worth it?

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6 thoughts on “[Review] Q Series: Life Plan A and B (植劇場 – 荼蘼)

      1. Plan B was definitely the most realistic of the two, but I’d still choose Plan A, especially if I got a happy ending with the cute young Chef.

        This was such a beautiful drama- one of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m left with one question though: what did Ru Wei do with the suitcase of money her ex-boss left? Did she just keep it? The show never really explained that, or maybe it did and I just missed it.

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      2. I’m glad u like it! Lots of people find it too heavy to watch but I’m really into intense dramas like these LOL. Yeah same that chef is so cute!

        From what I interpret is that Ru Wei used the money left behind to start a new life with her ex-boss and probably donated the money to the orphanage that she was seen in, in the last episode. It’s been a while since I saw the tv show but I think that’s what the show was implying.

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  1. Nodene Sheik

    Your review was well written and the series certainly stretched one’s thought processes. How many of us have been at this very cross road but never got to experience the ‘other shoe perspective’. Whilst the woman was created to be man’s help-mate; over time this has made her strong and independent. Overcoming the loneliness is an art if ‘what is love?’ can be seen as patience, kindness, selflessness, never boastful or rude, which can be shared with everyone. The modern woman therefore has lots of options, but like you say, ‘which choice is the right one?’ If you can live with no regrets, it really doesn’t matter then, does it?

    Hats off to the script writer/s and the cast. A different from the norm series which gets a thumbs up from me.

    Rainier Yang is beautiful when she smiles and when she wears that deep thoughtful or look of hurt. She brought a very real sense of reality to the role. Wishing her an award nomination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment! The scriptwriter actually won an award for the TV series In Time With You but I found this one far better in quality and pacing. I think the limited number of episodes really helped as well.

      And Rainie Yang is so pretty isn’t she? I’ve always wondered why people say she can’t act when she clearly can! This show definitely proves it.

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