- Title: Dream Garden
- Also Known As : 沉睡花, Chen Shui Hua Yuan , Sleeping Garden
- Director: Zang Xi Chuan
- Genres: Thriller, Psychological, Romance, Drama
- Country: China
- Type: Drama
- Number of Episodes: 16
- Year: 2021
- Original Network: Hunan TV Mango TV
- Where To Watch: Viki
Dream Garden Synopsis
Dream Garden is a slow-paced Chinese thriller drama, with some touch of romance, and psychological. It was aired in December 2021 and finished in February 2022. The story was about Xiao Xiao, who is a love expert. She wrote an online articles and consultation about love and relationship. Nobody knows better than her best friend Yan Luo that she has never been in a relationship before.
One day Xiao Xiao can’t reach for Yan Luo. She’s been missing for days, leaving her home and her work. Xiao Xiao unable to reached for her because her phone is also off.
Xiao Xiao began to investigate by herself. The clue leads her to a psychological consultation and a psychologist named Lin Shen. Unbeknownst to her, Yan Luo has been doing a consultation because of her anxiety. Xiao Xiao use many ways to get to close to Lin Shen. Her effort was not in vain.
It turned out that Yan Luo was not missing. She hid herself from her boyfriend whom monitored her every move and controlled her. He also would yelled and scolded her if she made mistakes. This relationship leaves a deep scar in Yan Luo’s heart. With the help from Lin Shen, Yan Luo tried to snatch back her life.
Yan Luo case is an opening door for Xiao Xiao’s interest in Psychology. With Lin Shen as her mentor, she embarks her career as a counselor. Together they solved many psychological cases and helped those people to regain their foothold. The mentor-student relationship quickly change into a lovers relationship when they was drawned into each other.
Dream Garden Review
The first I watched it, I thought Dream Garden was a straight romance drama. I didn’t pay enough attention to the thriller and psychological tags for this Cdrama…🤦🏻♀️
The drama opened with a series of kidnapping scenes. A woman was dragged to a beach and was pushed into the water several times.
The opening scene should be enough to convince me about the genre. But I was stubborn enough to keep watching and finished the whole episode. Whew!!!
Dream Garden’s episode is a short drama with only total of 16 episodes and an average duration of 1 hour and 15 minutes long. It’s quite a long duration, combined with the slow-paced story, this drama is torture for an impatient viewer like me…😫
The Casts and Characters
That would be a lie if I said I didn’t watch this drama for the sake of Gong Jun. since I saw his performance on Word of Honor, I’ve been keeping his name on my must-watch list. But I should say that his character in this drama might not be his best character. Compared to the lively Wen Ke Xing, Lin Shen was a dull person.
Nevertheless, Gong Jun has done a great job portraying Lin Shen. He has the aura of a cold, indifferent, non-emotional being. But his look forgives his lack of character. As a young and handsome lecturer, even I would try my best to never missed his class…😅
Qiao Xin was back as a lively, friendly, confident, and persistent woman. These might be her strength because even though she quite often depicts this character in her dramas, I had to admit that she always nailed it. She always looked like a happy, kind, and sweet woman.
Jing Chao acted as Fan Qi, the director of Dianfang company, the main villain, and Lin Shen’s love rival. I watched him as Ling Yunche at Ruyi’s Royal Love in The Palace. He was very mature compared to Qiao Xin. But he was perfectly fit as Fan Qi. He looked like a suspicious person. His eyes and expression were cold, with no warmth at all. Jing Chao nailed as a bad guy.
I have no impression of Sun Yi even though I’ve already watched several of her drama. But I like her character in Dream Garden. She had all the looks of a comic artist I’ve ever imagined. I like her wavy hair, but not the small bun…😅
My favorite actor in this drama is Zhang Duo. He acted as Shao Ning, everybody’s favorite boss. He was fun, considerate, and kind. Zhang Duo might be the oldest of our main roles. But it was fit for the boss role. It was cute to see an older man like him read comics behind a textbook…😂
Other actors that catch my eyes are Ma Meng Wei and Wu Yang. Ma Meng Wei played the role of Zhang Shan Shan, a woman who believed she had a delusional disorder. Wu Yang played the role of Chai Qian, a woman who was emotionally manipulated by her boyfriend. Their acting was good. I might start to look for their dramas.
A Bit of A Story
Xiao Xiao is quite bold in determining her career. She started as a radio announcer. Later, she began to give relationship advice to those who needed it on an online platform. Xiao Xiao wrote articles and made an appearance on online programs. Her expertise was in reading the body language and micro-expressions of people. She didn’t have a formal background. Everything that she said was based on her experiences only. Nevertheless, she had an innate analysis ability. Therefore, most of the advice was successful.
Lin Shen was a psychology professor who worked full-time as a counselor at Shaolin’s Psychological Counselling Center. He was a professional psychologist with a good reputation. Lin Shen helped people who came to him by conducting hypnosis therapy. Although he looked indifferent, Lin Shen, in reality, was a warm and passionate person.
He developed a car-riding phobia after being involved in a car accident when he was young. Because of this accident, his mother was in a coma for years. Lin Shen always takes care of her and visits her every week.
After their involvement in the Yan Luo case, Xiao Xiao became more interested in psychology. She took courses and enrolled at the same university where Lin Shen was lecturing. Shao Ning, our favorite boss, saw that Lin Shen was interested in Xiao Xiao. To help his best friend’s love life, he hires Xiao Xiao as Lin Shen’s assistant.
It’s An Office Romance
But of course, we need a third party to make everything more exciting. It is Fan Qi. Lin Shen was jealous of him because he was all over Xiao Xiao. She met him accidentally everywhere. Fan Qi appears to be a nice person. He was gentle, kind, and always ready to help Xiao Xiao. But he looked suspicious and Xiao Xiao didn’t even have a slight skepticism towards him. Come on, girl..! You’re an expert in body language and micro expressions. Can’t you see any sign of him?🤷♀️
Later, it was revealed that all this time Fan Qi was targeting Lin Shen. He used Xiao Xiao as a tool to reach Lin Shen and avenge his brother’s death. Fan Qi believes that Lin Shen was the one responsible for the death. But deep down inside, Fan Qi realized that he was the one who was indirectly responsible for the death. Fan Qi needed someone to shift the hopelessness, guilt, and regret that lingered in his heart.
They Help People with Toxic Relationship
The case they were working on was mostly about toxic relationships. The first case was Yan Luo’s. Yan Luo has been in a relationship with Wang Su. A person who has an opinion attachment problem.
The second case is about a fan who was attacked online. Zhang Shan Shan was trolled on the internet because she was suspected of assaulting Zhou Ran, a famous singer. Zhang Shan Shan was a talented girl. She was passionate about music. Later, she met with Zhou Ran, an idol with principle who refused to be dictated by the recording company. Shan Shan helps him to gain his foothold by creating a fan base to support him.
But when Zhou Ran’s fame skyrocketed, his manager told him to cease their relationship. This leads to Shan Shan’s misfortune. I didn’t like the way Shan Shan’s parents acted according to the situation. They judge her and refuse to hear her explanation.
The other case that I remember is the emotional manipulation case. Chai Qian used to be a very successful event manager. She loved her job and was passionate about it. But her boyfriend of 5 years was jealous of her achievement. So he looked for a way to control her and, at the same time, projected his insecurity towards Chai Qian.
Fortunately, Chai Qian was Xiao Xiao’s friend. They met and Xiao Xiao could sense her unstable emotional state. Therefore, in order to help her, Xiao Xiao asked for Lin Shen’s help. In the end, they save Chai Qian’s life. She left her boyfriend when they almost got married.
Some of their cases involve toxic lovers. But I noted that it also mentioned toxic parents. Yan Luo’s parents were treating her as their ATM. They took her hard earn money but gave her no credit at all. She was not loved nor respected. They only doted on their son and forgot their daughter. It is horrible to see them…😫
And also Zuo Yan’s case. Zuo Yan was an employee at Shaolin. She was a gentle and considerate colleague at work. Everybody likes her. But a mistake on her Weibo account exposed the real situation. She was suppressed by her controlling mother at home. Her mother sets many rules for her. She mustn’t come home late. 11 AM is her curfew.
She made her vegetable juices every day for the sake of her health. Zuo Yan didn’t like the juice, but it didn’t matter to her mother. Zuo Yan still had to drink it anyway. Her mother also controlled every man who was close to her. If he was not to her liking, she’d delete his number. Oh, Boy!… poor Zuo Yan. She was an adult, but her mother refused to treat her like one.
With so many toxic relationships and toxic people displayed in this drama. It was hard to watch them and still have a positive feeling after every episode. But thankfully, the director and writer still kindly put some sweet scenes between Lin Shen and Xiao Xiao for me to watch.
The Real Relationship Scene That I’ve been Looking For
Dream Garden was a thriller psychological drama. The case was the cake and the romantic relationship between Lin Shen and Xiao Xiao was only the icing on the cake.
Their relationship was a slow-burn romance. I had to watch them teasing and flirting for 10 episodes before Lin Shen confessed to her.
Yan Luo and Shao Ning’s relationship is more exciting for me. Shao Ning was quick to realize his feelings for Yan Luo, and he was determined to pursue her. She also made the first move toward her. Shao Ning saw Yan Luo at the supermarket with her parents. Her mother forbade her from buying a table lamp that she liked so much because it was expensive. Yan Luo’s disappointment was clearly displayed on her face. Shao Ning overheard the whole conversation. He took pity for her. Later, Yan Luo found the exact lamp on her cart, and it was already paid for.
Shao Ning’s kind gesture of buying her the table lamp is so touching. My heart goes to him. It was nice to see a kind act, even if it was just in a drama.
Back to The Snail-paced Couple
Lin Shen and Xiao Xiao finally confirmed their relationship in episode 12. After that, we can see PDA (Public Display of Affection, which means you’ll get to see Lin Shen and Xiao Xiao hugging or kissing or holding hands on display) all over the screen. They kiss everywhere. In the office pantry, Lin Shen’s office, the sidewalk, the supermarket, at home, and many more. And don’t forget the legendary drunk-kiss scene.
I don’t know what I should have felt back then. I’d waited for the romance waaay too long and suddenly they bombarded me with a series of PDA. It excited me no more.
The Ending (beware of spoiler)
The Dream Garden ending was a happy ending, thank goodness!
Lin Shen and Xiao Xiao must go through a series of torture from Fan Qi and his accomplice. I thought both of them were impossible to rescue, but the police always come at a critical moment. Yeay!!
Dream Garden’s story was beyond my expectations. The slow-burn romance was too much for me. The teasing and flirting were taking waaaayyy too much time. The cases were quite interesting and some of them might be a real story.
If you are into psychological things, you might want to consider this drama. But please take my word with a grain of salt. This is a CDrama realm after all.
But if you are here for the romance… I suggest you skip episodes 3 to 11 and straight to the 12th episode… that’s when the fun started. Happy watching!