Xia Lin (Simona Wang), a third-rate actress with leukemia, enters into a secret marriage with Ling Yi Zhou (Xu Kai Cheng), the CEO of a company. Despite the conspiracies and misunderstandings they encounter, the two find true love.
Yes, there is some good to this show. Some. Not much, really. In fact, there’s so little that it can be summed up in three points:
- The first ten episodes are great. The main couple’s dynamics are really cute, their “business” relationship is adorable, it’s light and funny. Overall, that’s awesome.
- The female lead was actually really good. She was fun, mature and level-headed. Her reaction to the “plot twist” that made me and so many other watchers angry was appropriate, too–right up until she fell back into the psycho’s arms, anyway.
- Chu Yan is DA BEST. Seriously. This boy should have got the girl, run away with her and been the happiest, because he deserves it SO MUCH. Portrayed by Ian Yi, he’s funny, childish, stands up for himself and those he loves, but more than that, he won’t take anybody’s bullshit, and he’s so very tender. I just wanted to wrap him up in blankets and protect him forever.
I knew from the start that something was off with the way the male lead was treating Xia Lin at the very start of their marriage. He was way too affectionate, way too domestic. They were supposed to be complete strangers, weren’t they? I admit, however, that I put those worries to sleep after a while, convinced that it was just a sweet-natured man in a light, cute romcom.
But you know what? I was right. It was fishy. And the explanation to that was so horrifying it just killed the entire romance—the entire show!—for me.
I’ll just sum it up in two words: stalking, manipulation. And then we’re actually supposed to feel sorry for him because he… stalks her anew and sits the entire night out her window even though it’s raining?
I… just… no?
It’s just a show, some of you might argue. You’re overreacting.
Maybe I am.
But consider this.
This drives me up the wall, because it’s so easy to put myself into this girl’s shoes. Xia Lin didn’t do anything wrong. She showed kindness to a stranger that she never expected to see again, and what happened? She got stalked, tricked into an arranged marriage, held prisoner in her own home, and when she tried to leave and get another job, she got stalked again. This man is so much more powerful than her, physically and financially. She has nowhere to run that he can’t reach.
He scares the living daylights out of me.
It Goes Down…
Shall we talk about the lead psychopath’s secretary?
This man, who knows everything about his boss, helps him stalk a defenseless woman, trick her into a relationship, and refuses to help her. He stands by, watches, and never even wonders if what he’s doing could be wrong.
And if we were given a half-satisfying background story of him and Ling Yizhou such as, say, Ling Yizhou saved his life and his family’s by pulling them all out of a raging fire along with their fave electronics and what-the heck-ever that would explain this fanatic loyalty, then I might understand a little.
But you know what?
Nothing, not one sentence!
This dude essentially does. not. give. a. damn.
He’s almost worse than the lead.
Product placement in Well-Intended Love reaches ridiculous heights. Usually, you’d have a short shot of the item and then be done with it. Here, you have entire scenes of the characters actually describing the products’ features in detail, complete with a freaking demonstration! It might have been wtf-laughter-inducing the first time, but there was just no tolerating it after the bullshit that was episode 10 ruined the entire show.
Then you also have the looong shots of the characters’ boots and watch when he’s getting punched or having an emotional breakdown and… it’s a sad sort of hilarious, really.
Plus, for all that our female lead keeps repeating that she wants to owe her success to herself and not to her husband and his connections, it becomes clear very early on that dear Mr. Ling has no intention of letting that happen.
Strangely enough, by the time her Stockholm Syndrome has settled in enough, Xia Lin is very happy to have her first lead role in a TV show her best friend wrote. Her best friend, whose first investor is none other than, you guessed it! CEO Ling Yizhou from Lingshi Enterprises. Yayyyyy. How’s that for not relying on anybody but yourself.
Wait, I think I strained my eyes, I rolled them so hard.
All in All…
Even Legend of Yun Xi didn’t manage to make me this angry. I’m so tired and enraged that even in 2019, entire throngs of people think it’s okay to portray this sort of shitty, abusive relationship and frame it up with pink hearts for people to coo over. This is neither cute nor romantic, and should not be perceived as such. In the real world, there would be no happy ending to this parody of a relationship, and you know what? For once in my life, I wish a show was realistic, because this? This is unhealthy as hell.
And while I understand, somewhat, that Asia has a terrible state of mind when it comes to women and their rights and place in society, that Netflix, of all streaming services, picked up this crap is beyond me. They should be ashamed.
Title: Well-Intended Love
Starring: Xu Kai Chen, Simona Wang, Ian Yi
Aired: 01/17/2019 to 02/14/2019
Number of Episodes: 20
My grade: ☆☆☆☆☆