Chinese Drama Review: Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace 如懿传

Now, what should I say….I have eagerly anticipated Ruyi’s Royal Love In The Palace, the sequel to my all-time-fave Legend of Zhen Huan, held high expectations for this drama, going as far as to proclaiming that it will definitely be better than the sleeper hit Story of Yanxi Palace even without first watching it…….but in the end after watching, Ruyi did not reel me in and made me as addicted as I would expect.

In fact, I am only up till ep 40 plus, and haven’t found the motivation to continue on, though I do intend to eventually.

So what exactly went wrong?

Similar and stale schemes to many Palace dramas

Perhaps it is because I have watched too many of these palace dramas with concubines’ scheming against each other, so much so that I am really in the know about the typical kind of schemes they pull against one another, and even the type of characters there will be.

There is always the nice and easily bullied one, the vindinctive and secretly scheming one, the outwardly scheming one….that kind of thing.

So I guess I just grew tired after a while, when I don’t see refreshing characters, especially since I watched Ruyi after Yanxi, and Yanxi was an atypical palace drama with an unconventional lead who breaks norms in the palace.

A Female Lead in Palace drama that Doesn’t Scheme Much

Ruyi Royal Love in the Palace 1

I’ll admit it, I LOVE lOVE LOVE schemes in palace dramas. I love seeing the female lead coming against all odds to grapple for the emperor’s affections and beating other concubines to emerge victorious. I enjoy the feeling of rooting for the female lead to savour her win in the end, and by “win”, I mean seeing the lead stepping up to the throne to gain power and gaining the emperor’s utmost adoration.

Ruyi, the female lead, does not scheme much contrary to the typical lead in a palace drama. She genuinely loves the emperor and does not wish to manipulate him even if she knows that only by pulling some tricks can she manipulate and get what she wants or even secure his affection.

Which is kind of noble but also……anti climax.

Hence it is not as satisfying for someone like me who wants to watch manipulation and schemings and our lead to triumph.

Heartbreaking to see the Emperor dismiss Ruyi

Ruyi's Royal Love In THe Palace

Another one crucial reason that stopped me from binge watching is that I play cheat and read spoilers and already knew that the Emperor will turn into a total jerk, letting down Ruyi’s true love and disappointing her time and time again.

While I complained that Ruyi is kinda bland, and not as scheming as I would have liked, I still find her a likeable character and of course wish the best for her. But oh no!! I hate the idea of the irritating Ling Fei, Consort Ling gaining power and throwing her weight around and bossing Ruyi too. In the palace, the Emperor’s affections is everything, the thought of the Emperor dismissing Ruyi and choosing to side Ling Fei, disappointing a woman who truly loves him is just too hard for me to bear. I cant even bring myself to witness it..thus the lull in my watching. Sigh.

Can’t Bear to See the Evil Nemesis Triumph

Ling Fei Ruyi Palce

The biggest nemesis for Ruyi, and who overthrew her coveted affections from the Emperor is none other than Ling Fei( ironically the gutsy lead in Story of Yanxi Palace)who in my opinion is a total bitch.

Sometimes the antagonists still have interesting backstory and some moral standards so they are not that hateable. But this Ling Fei is just completely irritating to watch.

She is a gold-digger, wanting to dump her first love so as to be the emperor’s woman where she can get her riches, then she went back to her first love after realising that she failed in her attempt to become a concubine, and then tried to seduce the emperor AGAIN when she felt that she had another shot.

In short she is despicable ,low-down with no dignity and moral values to speak of, and hence it is all the more hard to watch when you see such a low-down character trump our lead Ruyi and get her 3-min of fame, or rather many minutes of fame in this drama, resulting in the rift between Ruyi and the Emperor.

More Measured Pace and less exciting plot that requires more patience to watch

Unlike Legend of Zhen Huan which had more twists and turns in its plot, Ruyi’s Royal Love is comparatively less exciting.

Measured pace is acceptable to me, provided that there is still exciting plotline, but I feel that Ruyi is a bit lacking in this department, especially if I were to compare to Story of Yanxi Palace which is very fast paced with highs and lows in each episode.

Conclusion: Easier to watch if you have not watched Story of Yanxi Palace and Legend of Zhen Huan yet

To me, Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace is still a worthy watch. The reason why I haven’t found myself addicted to the drama yet is all due to my own peeves, like unable to accept the irritating nemesis, having too high an expectation for it etc, however to anyone viewer who just wants a palace drama with good acting to watch, Ruyi still fits the bill.

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