Available on: Netflix
Total episode #: 20
Dumpling-rating scale: 3.75/5
Well Intended Love 奈何BOSS要娶我 has every single drama cliché known to dramaland. It has a cold CEO, kindhearted D-list actress, a marriage of convenience/contract marriage, amnesia, a love triangle…and no it does not end here.
Despite its predictability, its high production value and pacing made it an enjoyable watch. In the first episode we get introduced to Xia Lin (portrayed by Shuang Wang 王双) on the worst day of her life — she misses out on an acting job, finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her and is diagnosed with leukaemia.
Luckily, she also meets Ling Yi Zhou, CEO of a conglomerate who also happens to be her bone marrow match! Desperate to save her own life, Xia Lin pursues Ling Yi Zhou to convince him to donate his bone marrow. Ling Yi Zhou (portrayed by Xu Kai Cheng 徐开骋) finally agrees to help Xia Lin on the condition that she marries him… Xia Lin, although initially hesitant, comes around after spending a day with Ling Yi Zhou and seals the marriage deal in episode 2. And so it begins.
Well Intended Love is your typical drama in every way. For those who enjoyed The Eternal Love, this would be right down your alley. In more ways than one, this drama is like an extension of the first three episodes of The Eternal Love 2 (the modern day part).
Both male and female leads resemble each other in looks and personality. Tan-er and Xia Lin also use the same expression, for example they both repeatedly call Mo Lian Cheng/Ling Yi Zhou ‘Liúmáng流氓’ — gangster, nice way to describe your significant other! CDramaland has found its guaranteed hit formula — Well Intended Love has already announced a Well Intended Love 2, while The Eternal Love is onto season 3.
Fun to watch? Yes. Problematic? Probably. There is a current obsession with the cold, controlling, omnipotent, omnipresent alpha male. While, I can definitely see the allure of having someone who can get stuff done, it doesn’t do very much for female empowerment or equality. So if you are looking for some inspiration — look elsewhere.
Like Go Princess Go, this web drama isn’t very long and can’t justify an episode guide. Instead (for those interested), I have set out the plot, ending and my thoughts but beware there are ‼️spoilers‼️.
Picking up where we left off — after her cancer treatment, Xia Lin moves in with Ling Yi Zhou. To her confusion, Ling Yi Zhou continuously makes an effort to spend time with her and treats her like his real wife including by standing up to his friends Chu Yan (a famous actor, who is part of the same agency as Xia Lin) and An Ran (a spoilt heiress), the former which slowly begins to like her and the latter who wants to destroy her.
Slowly, after multiple rescues and gestures of affection, Xia Lin falls in love with Ling Yi Zhou. As soon as she does, Ling Yi Zhou is involved in a car accident, which causes him to forget her specifically and all the happy time they shared together (episode 7).
It is soon revealed that An Ran, in love with Ling Yi Zhou and controlled by Nan Jin Tian, orchestrated the accident and through hypnosis caused him to forget Xia Lin. By episode 9, Ling Yi Zhou regains his memory and is able to save Xia Lin (again), this time from a beating by Chu Yan’s abusive father.
Chu Yan’s father, who has an interest in Chu Yan marrying someone from money and connections, believes Xia Lin is romantically interested in Chu Yan and wants to terminate their relationship. He also constantly physically abuses Chu Yan because of some unresolved feelings related to Chu Yan’s mother leaving them (again problematic, especially because this storyline is never properly explored or resolved).
Nan Jin Tian, whose motives are not clear, is still intent on destroying Ling Yi Zhou — this time he does so by revealing ‘the truth’ in episode 11… and her comes the big twist… turns out Ling Yi Zhou was obsessed with Xia Lin, long before she thought they met! Kind-hearted Xia Lin bought Ling Yi Zhou a cake on his birthday and didn’t press charges against him for destroying her phone while drunk after his father passed away.
After those two ‘moments’, Ling Yi Zhou had been keeping tabs on her and when he saw her at his hospital (yes owns a hospital as well), faked her medical records to get her to pursue him… she never had cancer! What! Xia Lin obviously distraught moves out and wishes to separate from him. Ling Yi Zhou, unable to let go, continues to keep tabs on her and buys up everything she interacts with (if I actually think about it, this is kind of disturbing).
Anyways, this is dramaland, he is just so in love with her that he cannot move on (lets just accept this and move on ourselves… difficult I know). They reconcile in the end, just in time for An Ran and Nan Jin Tian’s fourth attempt to destroy Xia Lin and Ling Yi Zhou by killing Chu Yan in episode 13 and frame Xia Lin.
Again, the truth is uncovered and An Ran is caught and imprisoned during a media event announcing Xia Lin and Ling Yi Zhou’s marriage… it is also revealed that Chu Yan did not die, he was only kidnapped by his childhood friend An Ran, which makes it a lot more acceptable. Kidding! But seriously, his ‘death’ did catch me off guard, so I was glad to see him come back.
Ling Yi Zhou’s mother makes an appearance in episode 15. This is the final story arc — Ling Yi Zhou’s mother left him and his father for another man… this not only caused Ling Yi Zhou a lot of pain but also caused his step-brother, Nan Jin Tian, to become a vindictive psychopath.
Nan Jin Tian’s motive is finally revealed — his real mother died after she found out about the affair. Nan Jin Tian, unable to hurt his step-mother, wishes to harm Ling Yi Zhou, to avenge his mother’s death. He does this by kidnapping a pregnant Xia Lin.
While trying to save Xia Lin, Ling Yi Zhou gets shot (by a gun) and falls into a coma. During this time, Ling Yi Zhou’s mother tries to take over his company and is revealed to have been using both Ling Yi Zhou and Nan Jin Tian against each other. Chu Yan and Xia Lin are able to thwart her plans and she ends up leaving empty handed. In a final attempt to get revenge, Nan Jin Tian again kidnaps Xia Lin, this time he is caught by Ling Yi Zhou, Chu Yan and the police.
Alls well that ends well? At least it is for the good guys. An Ran and Nan Jin Tian are behind bars and Ling Yi Zhou’s heartless mother is back with her husband in Europe (far away from him).
Love sick Chu Yan fortuitously meets Tong Xiao You during his captivity in episode 14. Tong Xiao You, somewhat of a hustler, happens to be an heiress whose father is also intent on an arranged marriage. They get along and it is implied that they ultimately get together.
I know I haven’t mentioned Xia Lin’s best friend, Jia Fei, or Ling Yi Zhou’s right-hand man, Wen Li. But to round things up, Wen Li proposes to Jia Fei. During the proposal, also our main couple’s anniversary, Xia Lin goes into labour and gives birth to a healthy baby boy. Things definitely happen all at once in this drama.
The final scenes are of Ling Yi Zhou caring for his son while at work while Xia Lin is back at work. Nice how her career has made a sudden comeback after 10 episodes! While the last two episodes were rushed, particularly because Xia Lin spent the two preceding episodes ‘kidnapped’, I wasn’t dissatisfied with the ending. It was definitely a ‘happy ending’ for all those wondering.
I would have like a better resolution with Ling Yi Zhou’s mother and perhaps for Xia Lin’s family to make an appearance (they never do) but you can’t have everything. In terms of Chinese Drama endings — this definitely was one of the better ones.
For all its weirdness, I quite liked Well Intended Love — it played into every stereotype and made for some easy watching. Just don’t go in looking for logic, you will be disappointed. The best part of the drama? Chu Yan and Ling Yi Zhou’s relationship. I like the loyalty and respect they had for each other. Bros over h****.
Things to work on for season 2? The soundtrack… almost every single Chinese Drama I have watched to date has a slew of phenomenal soundtracks, Well Intended Love had one…. Tian Mi Fa Xiao 甜蜜发酵. Also, I wouldn’t mind them toning down the aggressive expression of love. Being physically imposing should not be a representation of love. May be I’m too traditional but being subtle is good too! Hopefully, like The Eternal Love, Well Intended Love can give us a season 2 better than its season 1.
What did you think of Well Intended Love?