- Title: Destined
- Also Known As: Chang Feng Du , 長風渡
- Director: Yin Tao
- Casts: Bai Jing Ting, Song Yi, Liu Xue Yi, Zhang Hao Wei, Ray Chang
- Screenwriter: Bai Jin Jin, Rao Jun
- Genres: Romance, Historical, Business, Comedy
- Country: China
- Episodes: 40
- Date of Release: June 18, 2023
- Original Network: iQiyi
- Where to Watch: iQiyi
Another promising story to entertain the viewers in the hot month of July. The trailer looks promising and although the plot seems all too familiar, the performances were convincing to draw in viewers to have a look. Let’s see if the drama really lives up to expectation.
Liu Yu Ru is the legitimate (di) daughter of a declining cloth merchant family. Despite her status, she and her mother live a difficult life. Both mother and daughter are suppressed Zhang Yue Er, the favorite concubine of the Liu family. Unfortunately, Liu Yu Ru’s father is the type who would indulge the concubine and neglect the wife. Hence, Liu Yu Ru grows up with less privilege than her illegitimate (shu) sisters.
Even so, Liu Yu Ru is smart and resourceful. With her careful and shrewd planning, she manages to get by in the Liu household together with her sickly mother. Since a young age, Liu Yu Ru has learnt how to properly conduct herself in public, creating a preferable image and reputation. This is so that she is able to attract a promising suitor from a prominent family. She has set her eyes on Ye Shi An of the Ye family.
When things finally seem to be going her way, Liu Yu Ru crosses paths with Gu Jiu Si of the exceptionally wealthy Gu family. Gu Jiu Si is the only son of the Gu family. He is the pampered, carefree and lazy young master of the Gu family, who is well known for his poor reputation.
Unexpectedly, a huge blunder caused Liu Yu Ru’s betrothal to Ye Shi An to be canceled and she has to marry Gu Jiu Si, instead. The disappointed Liu Yu Ru now has to bitterly reconcile with the fact that her life long dream is now shattered. She is now determined to re adjust her expectation and settle herself into her new life.
Meanwhile, Gu Jiu Si is prejudiced against Liu Yu Ru, thinking that she is a scheming and calculating girl. Thus the story begins of how the unlikely couple overcome their differences. With the threats of war looming in Yang Zhou, the couple is now faced a with new external challenges. How will they survive the dangerous situation as well as surviving each other?
Destined Drama Review
This drama was based on the web novel Chang Feng Du 长风渡 by Mo Shu Bai. But I have not read it, so I cannot comment on how this drama was as an adaptation. But as a live action drama, I was thoroughly entertained.
From the moment the drama aired, it has stayed at the number 1 rating in my region, and it is for good reasons too. The story was exciting to follow, the performances were memorable and the chemistry between the actors and actresses flowed naturally.
I was quite captivated by Song Yi’s performance as Liu Yu Ru. She could invoke emotion and consequently tears with her elegant, willful yet endearing portrayal of Liu Yu Ru. She was one of my favorite in Joy of Life as Fan Ruo Ruo. She was the perfect choice for Liu Yu Ru, but I never expected Song Yi to bring so much life into her. This performance could bring her career to new heights.
After seeing him in New Life Begins drama, I did not think Bai Jing Ting could carry off an indolent young master role so well. I did not see a shadow of the prim and proper Yin Zheng anywhere. It was like he was transformed into a completely different person.
He carried out the action scenes very well also, stealing fans’ hearts everywhere. The fighting sequences went hard which was thrilling to see. I did not expect them to bring it to such a big scale, but it was pretty fitting to the story line. In any case, I have new found respect and admiration for Bai Jing Ting.
What sells romance drama is of course the chemistry between the main leads and delightfully, both Song Yi and Bai Jing Ting performed very well. The love and passion between Liu Yu Ru and Gu Jiu Si was practically shooting out of the screen haha. I have to wonder whether there was more to the rumor of them dating. Although it is normal for such rumors to be circulated to make romance dramas more popular, but the onscreen romance scenes they had felt so real, it was burning so hot it made me blush ʱªʱªʱª(ᕑᗢूᓫ∗).
I personally love how the relationship between Liu Yu Ru and Gu Jiu Si progressed. It did not feel forced and felt natural. I love how the husband and wife first became friends and partners before they find love with each other. Their strong bond felt justified somehow. And the drama tells the story of how their bond was tested time and again. The challenges and hurdles made them grew even closer.
As the story developed, the couple faced numerous hardships, and we get to see how the carefree Gu Jiu Si developed into a reliable, wise and outstanding gentleman. Both Liu Yu Ru and Gu Jiu Si took their time to develop feelings for each other. From trusting one another and finally being able to rely on each other, be each other’s best friend.
To me, this is the beauty of their romance. Unlike those romanticized scenes where the couple accidentally bump into each other, then the music swells and flower petals suddenly rains all around them. Such scenes make me face palm in shame to be honest haha.
Another lovely surprise was that I did not expect Liu Xue Yi to be starring in this drama as well. So you could imagine my delight when his beautiful face suddenly come onto the screen. As always, his performance did not disappoint!
The overall plot of the drama cannot be said as something unique, but the way it was told and how everything came together was interesting and definitely engaging for the viewers. And as a fan of happy ending stories, I was glad that the story ended satisfyingly. You can read the ending explained here Destined ending explained.
This drama was directed by the accomplished Yin Tao, who has directed some of my favorite Chinese Dramas of late such as Love and Redemption drama, Who Rules the World drama and The Blood of Youth drama. Needless to say, I came in with high expectations. But Director Yin Tao has once again proved his talent with Destined.
The scenes were effortlessly beautiful and each were made to fit the right mood. You know how you can tell a drama is of high quality by looking at the camera technique? Destined certainly gives off that vibe. The scenes felt natural and flows together with the mood.
The angles made the story believable and the romance felt sweet with none of the corny vibe.
I have to once again praise the quality of the fighting scenes. They really went beyond my expectation. They were depicted in a way where you can feel the intensity but not overly violent. I think this is an art of its own; to be able to shoot such scenes and made it beautiful somehow. I have no better word to describe it.
I also love the costumes and the sets, especially the Gu Mansion. It was said that the Gu family’s wealth is that similar to the richness of a country. Their lifestyle and family abode reflected their wealth. The Gu Mansion was grand, lavish yet not tacky, reflective of their ‘old money’.
Compared to when they were showing the Ye family household. It showed that they were also a distinguished and wealthy family but it looked more reserved and definitely of a different class with the Gu family. The viewers could see that the team put a lot of thought into integrating all the sets to fit into the story perfectly.
The Casts and Characters
Song Yi as Liu Yu Ru
I think Song Yi is best suited to play demure, soft spoken yet possesses quick wit character like Liu Yu Ru. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was also able to portray the steel resolve, bravery and vulnerability in her as well. She brought this unique individual to life. I cried a lot with her.
Liu Yu Ru was the di daughter of the Liu family. Since a young age, she has understood that she and her mother were not favorable in the eyes of Liu father. Hence, mother and daughter lived a hard and bitter life, having to survive the tyranny of Concubine Zhang and her daughters.
Mother Liu’s family was a prominent family in Jinling and this was the reason why Father Liu wanted to marry her; for the glorious reputation of her family. But in terms of affection, he was never in love with her. So after Mother Liu’s family fell, Father Liu never bothered to take care of her properly. Instead, he spoiled Concubine Zhang and pretended not to know what she did to the two mother and daughter.
Because of this, Liu Yu Ru has trained herself to be strategic in terms of her conduct, demeanor and how she carried herself in public, all to preserve good reputation for her. She was aiming to marry into a prominent family. She thought that in this way, she could find a way out for herself and to protect her mother. With her marrying someone reputable, her father would take better care of her mother in order to save face.
That was why she has set her eyes on Ye Shi An, an accomplished gentleman of the distinguished Ye family. They were friends since childhood and have built good feelings towards each other. Ye Shi An was also fond of Liu Yu Ru and agreed to marry her. Unfortunately, fate spoke differently.
When Liu Yu Ru realized her marriage with Gu Jiu Si was inevitable, she learnt to accept the fact and adapt with the situation. She decided to learn the family business from Mother Gu and very quickly earned her trust to continue the Gu family business. It is refreshing to see such intelligent, calm and elegant female lead like Liu Yu Ru.
Bai Jing Ting as Gu Jiu Si
The first time I saw Bai Jing Ting’s performance in New Life Begins, I thought he played a cool and sophisticated gentleman really well. I cannot imagine him playing a reckless, wild and the playboy type like Gu Jiu Si. But he pulled it off really well! His performance in this drama convinced me that he is one talent to look out for.
His fighting scenes also called out the fangirl in me. The action scenes he had to do was tough to say the least, but he made it cool and believable. All around, a satisfying performance.
Gu Jiu Si grew up as the pampered young master of the Gu family. He was loved and well taken care of by his parents who always hoped for his safety and happiness in life. His lack of experience in hardships and misery made him a little bit jaded and a little bit insensitive to the ordeal of others. Even so, he still had a soft spot for those who were less fortunate than him.
Perhaps it was the influence of his similarly flamboyant friends, but Gu Jiu Si had a tendency to build a bad reputation around himself. Including his playboy reputation which he had constructed by going to the brothel regularly, despite having never been involved with any female. It seemed it was his goal in life to be able to get through aimlessly without having to worry about anything.
When he met Liu Yu Ru, he could not understand how a dignified legitimate daughter of a prominent family would be so calculative and scheming. Only after he found out about her bitter background did he realized that she did what she did in order to survive. He was quite observant and thorough when he put his mind to something. Hence, he helped Liu Yu Ru with her predicament.
This was the beginning of their friendship and ultimately deep romance. I cannot stress enough how I love such love stories.
With the threats of war looming in the horizon, the Gu family realized that with their high profile status, they were going to be the first to be targeted. Mother and Father Gu wanted to protect the family but they did not want to worry the seemingly immature Gu Jiu Si, hence he was kept in the dark. Little did they know that he actually possessed the emotional strength and moral character to weather the storm. It was just he was never required to put his ability to the test.
Liu Xue Yi as Luo Zi Shang
Liu Xue Yi is a very talented actor. I am quite baffled how he is not given too many roles where he can be the main lead. To be fair, I did try to watch Qing Luo where he played the main male lead, but the female lead was too annoying to my liking that I did not continue with the drama( ‘◇’). Nevertheless, he needs to be in more main roles!
Liu Xue Yi was elegant and a little bit demented as Luo Zi Shang, but I think this is the correct temperament for such character. He played it off well, giving the viewers the feeling of a little bit of hate, a little bit of sympathy and by the end of the drama, a lot of pity.
For me, I will forever be captivated by his handsome face (^o^).
Luo Zi Shang was a mysterious character in the drama. His background story was revealed little by little throughout the series with the shocking truth revealed at the end. Hence, I will not speak too much about his background here.
Luo Zi Shang was a multi talented gentleman, who was adept in business and politics. He held a deep grudge towards the Gu family and made it his life’s goal to destroy every last one of them. His hatred ran so deep that he even had the heart to involve innocent lives in his revenge plot.
He actually had deep affection towards Liu Yu Ru but his heart was blinded by bitterness and resentment that he lost sight of what was important to him. Such an abominable character but my overall view of him was sadness.
Ray Chang as Zhou Ye
This is my second time watching Ray Chang play a morally upright character. He acted as Yu Mo very well in Immortal Samsara. In Destined, he acted as the talented and benevolent General Zhou Ye. I believe his charm is just well suited to play such character. I enjoyed his performance here as well.
Zhou Ye was the son of General Zhou Gaolang from Youzhou. He first met Liu Yu Ru when he was travelling to Yangzhou, looking for a suitable cloth vendor to make the uniforms and boots for his troops. He did not reveal his identity, but Liu Yu Ru was able to guess who he was based on the detailed requirements he listed down to his order.
Seeing how detailed, considerate and careful he was with his spending, Liu Yu Ru was able to correctly guess Zhou Ye’s righteous character. His love for the people further drew admiration from both Liu Yu Ru and Gu Jiu Si.
In return, Zhou Ye was also very appreciative of Liu Yu Ru’s honest and responsible character. He was even more respectful of Gu Jiu Si’s bravery and resolve. So much so that he took the initiative to befriend the young Gu couple and even becoming Gu Jiu Si’s sworn brother. Their deep friendship and seamless cooperation in navigating the challenges faced by the people in Youzhou was another reason this Destined drama was a gem.
There are many characters in the drama that deserve their own spotlight and perhaps also deep dive. For instance the character Wang Shou, Gu Father’s right hand man who perished during the turmoil in Yangzhou. His sacrifice was heartbreaking that I wanted to see more of his story. But overall, Destined drama was made cohesively and the viewers are quite satisfied, at least I am.
If you like epic romance dramas, then Destined drama should be next on your list. The story was engaging with none of the frustrating element you often see in romance dramas. The retaliation made by the main leads was satisfactory without it being over the top.