C-Drama Review: RESET (2022) A Sci-Fi Thriller About Time Loop

This is one of C-Drama's big hits in 2022, and so far, the most widely discussed series in mainland China due to its fresh narrative and interesting storyline, which has similarity to the movie, "Source Code" (2011).

Reset is a mystery thriller and follows the story of a university student, Li Shi Qing (played by Zhao Jin Mai), and a video game designer, Xiao He Yun (played by Bai Jing Ting) who found themselves trapped in a never-ending time loop - waking up over and over again in the same period and in the same bus that destined to explode. 

As they witness the same scenario keeps repeating, they realize they can prevent the tragedy if they can figure out what causes the explosion. So they agreed to work together to solve the mystery of their situation and save other passengers.

"Time Loop" is different from "Time Travel". 

The characters experiencing the time loop find themselves in a situation where a certain event keeps repeating in the same period. And the cycle never breaks until the characters can figure out how to solve the mystery and get out of the loop. 

While time-traveling refers to a situation where characters find themselves going back to the past era or living in the future through an unexplained event.

Zhao Jinmai and Bai Jingting in RESET

Plot Summary

Li Shi Qing (Zhao Jin Mai) is a university student. She hops on a bus one mid-morning to buy a book in a bookstore across the bridge in Jialin city. 

The bus that passes through her route is the no.45 which she regularly boarded during school days, thus, already acquainted with the driver, Wang Xing De

When they reach the traffic lane, Xing De tries to avoid a delivery rider who suddenly cuts in the street, prompting Xing De to lose control. The bus collided with the approaching oil tanker and exploded.

The scene implies that all the people who boarded the bus have died during the explosion.

Bai Jingting as Xiao He Yun

To Li Shi Qing's surprise, she wakes up on the same bus and things look normal, people are quietly seated, and the environment is still the same, but she notices they are heading once again to the same traffic lane where they collide with the delivery rider.

This incident keeps repeating and each time they head to the explosion part, Shi Qing would wake up, feeling dizzy. 

Going through the same routine, boarding the same bus, and dying in the same accident, Shi Qing soon realizes she is trapped in a never-ending time loop. 

In the sixth cycle of the time loop, she devises a plan to get off the bus before it collides with the truck. She needs to create a scene inside the bus to force the driver to open the door and allow her  to disembark.

She accuses a fellow passenger, Xiao He Yun (Bai Jingting) of making advances on her, thus, chaos erupted as the bus approaches the traffic lane. 

Eventually, the driver allows her to disembark, but before the door closes, she drags  Xiao He Yun out of the bus.

Xiao He Yun, a game designer who is in a hurry to attend a digital conference to present his latest design, is obviously irritated with her action, and upon disembarking, he catches a taxi to hurry to his destination while Li Shi Qing prepares to cross the street. 

However, the no.45 bus, not far from where she stands, explodes and the impact knocks her off. Xiao He Yun's taxi is also caught by the splinters and crashes.

Li Shi Qing wakes up being wheeled to the hospital, but to her surprise, Xiao He Yun is also in the hospital badly burnt and dying.

Captain Cheng Zhang (Liu Yijun) of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the city police pays Li Shi Qing a visit and begins the interrogation. But while she narrates her version of the story, the captain expresses doubts on her statement. 

Meanwhile, the emergency team desperately tries to save the life of Xiao He Yun, but to no avail. And he died. To his surprise, he wakes up in the same bus and in the same situation. When he looks around, everything looks the same, and he still seated beside Li Shi Qing.

He also wakes up around the same time Li Shi Qing wakes up. They finally understand that they are experiencing the same cycle. 

It appears that when Li Shi Qing pulls him out of the bus, she inadvertently drags him to join her in the time loop.

Together they must try to figure out how to change their fate and how to avoid the collision and the tragic accident. 

While the bus approaches the traffic lane, Li Shi Qing moves fast to the driver's side and urges him to slow down to avoid colliding with the food delivery rider.

And the strategy works! 

The bus avoided the collision with the truck. Li Shi Qing and Xiao He Yun feel triumphant for aborting the tragedy and moves back to their seat.

However, when they pass through the bridge at 1:45PM, the bus still exploded! 

They wake up in the time loop and Xiao He Yun and Li Shi Qing wonder why the bus still exploded when it has already avoided the collision with the delivery rider and the oil tanker.

They have suspected that someone inside the bus has explosives! 

In every cycle of the time loop, they try to uncover who among the remaining six passengers is carrying the bomb. But they soon realize how challenging the nature of their mission without the help of the police. 

Can they ever convince the authorities to help them using sketchy information they obtained only in the time loop? 

Can they ever solve the riddles of their fate before time runs out? Or just perish with other passengers in the ill-fated bus no.45 before the police authorities buy their statement?

RESET is adapted from the novel, "Kai Duan" by Qi Dao Jun, and directed by Sun Mo Long.  Produced by Daylight Entertainment (same producer of Nirvana in Fire, The Disguiser, The Story of Minglan), it stars Bai Jingting and Zhao JinMai, and reunited Nirvana in Fire stars, Liu Tao and Liu Yijun.

Our Review

Reset is beautifully written! 

The fact that this is produced by Daylight Entertainment, known for producing critically-acclaimed and highly-rated C-Drama like Nirvana in Fire, The Disguiser, Ode to Joy, Love Me If You Dare, The Story of Minglan, Like a Flowing River among others, Reset did not disappoint! 

It has a tight plot, well-written characters, a fast-paced narrative with a clear ending, meaning each story of the characters has been wrapped up coherently in the end. 

A must-watched C-Drama this year. 

Time loop is a complex material to be used in the drama because it confronts science and beliefs and what's beyond in this universe. So it's a bit challenging for the production to come up with something like this project. 

Time loop also confronts our subconscious if it is possible to be trapped in a certain period of time over and over again as if time has been put on a reset. But this is a well-crafted narrative and holds an amount of thrill which keeps viewers on the edge.

Xiao He Yun and Li Shi Qing trapped in a never-ending time loop in Reset

The lead characters at first have contrasting views on how to resolve the cycle and how to get out of the loop. So they have an initial disagreement and found themselves bickering.

Li Shi Qing is more courageous to solve the mystery and how to deal with the situation, while Xiao He Yun is a bit passive and wants to deal with the situation cautiously. 

He is a game programmer, so he relies on an analytical approach, and not through instinct and emotions. He also dreaded the police interrogation so he told Li Shi Qing to be more cautious with her action. However, she wanted the police to get involved in the situation to help them prevent the explosion. 

He Yun left her to face the police but later realized life is not about keeping himself safe but also extending help to others. He thought of Shi Qing and the ordeal she had gone through, so he decided to go back and help her solve the mystery.

Their initial motive is to avoid death for themselves. But later, as they keep waking up in the same situation, witnessing the explosion, they get to know the passengers and become emotionally attached. So they are determined to save them too.

Going through many loops, Shi Qing and He Yun are convinced one of the passengers is the courier of the explosives, and so they need to uncover who among them is the culprit. 

In each episode, we are guided on how each passenger's story unfolds, why they are on the same route and why they are boarding the same bus. 

One of their earlier suspects is Lu Di (Zeng Kelang) and he looks like a "gangster" but revealed later, he is a person with a good heart and a cat lover who has been rescuing homeless cats on the streets, giving them a forever home.

What I love about Reset is the amount of "heart" the story puts in. 

It's not only a science-fiction thriller that navigates a complex time loop theme but also narrates a story of real people, experiencing struggles in life in a realistic situation. 

All the eight passengers and the drivers have a heartwarming story to tell. And each story is heart-wrenching, emotional, and sad.

A cat lover who has a controlling mother who does not allow him to play or have cats. And he is on the bus because he is rushing home to join his parents for dinner.

A construction worker who finds himself without a home and will be moving to another town to seek help from his friends. He also works hard to send his daughter to school.

An old father and ex-convict who was deserted by his wife and son and on his way to his son's office to bring him watermelons.

A mother who suffers a mental breakdown when her daughter passed away years ago.

Even the delivery rider has his own story to tell, why he was rushing that morning, which caused him to collide with the bus.

Reset also shows the effectiveness of the criminal investigation unit of the city police. They have sound judgment. Captain Zhang is a responsible police officer who never treats the witnesses harshly, in fact he takes care of them, giving them food and coffee. 

I love the filming location of this drama.: Xiamen City, China! It shows the everyday life in Xiamen, the beautiful infrastructure, the state-of-the-art buildings and technology, the beautiful gardens, and the suburban. 

And most of all, I love the ending theme song of this drama. In the rarest occasion in C-Drama, Reset has an English ending theme song, My Only, performed by Zhou Shen (the one who sang, Cocoon, the ending theme song of The Long Ballad).

Dissecting the story and understanding the core of its narrative, Reset offers some thought-provoking message too, allowing us to ponder our life in retrospect. 

What if our life will be put on a reset? What if we are in the same tragic situation and has given an opportunity to wake up to make a difference? How would we react? 

How would we act to change the course of our destiny? Are we going to just save ourselves? Or save others too? Can we still avoid what is written in the stars?

Loopholes

And as with most drama, Reset has a fair share of loopholes too. 

I wish the writer explained the "time loop" concept well. How someone enters the time loop and what's the condition of not being drawn into it?

For instance, Xiao He Yun enters the time loop because he was saved by Shi Qing in the sixth cycle, but how come Lu Di has not entered the "loop" (despite his wish to join Shi Qing and Xiao He Yun in the cycle), when he was also saved by Shi Qing?

Usually, characters who are trapped in the time loop, would not know each other after returning to reality, but how come Xiao He Yun and Li Shi Qing know each other after getting off of the trap, as if those cycles happened in real life?

The story resolved only the explosion element but has not touched anything about the theory of time loop. So we don't have any idea how and why time loop occurs. Does it have something to do with medical diagnosis or daydreaming or just strong instinct? 

Time loop is a very interesting theme, I wish there was enough time to explain its background just like the supernatural element in the film, "Ghost" of Demi Moore.

The rescue cats of Lu Di 💖

You can watch the full episodes for free with English subtitles in YouTube. Check this LINK

Conclusion

Overall, Reset is highly-recommended! It's fun and entertaining. It's just a short series with only 15 episodes, so the narrative is compact. 

I love all the characters in the story, each of them has strengths and weaknesses. Reset also has one of the most coherent and comprehensive endings of a drama. The story of each character has been properly wrapped up.

I like Captain Zhang because he is such a responsible police officer who has sound judgment. He never threatens the witnesses, he even offering them food and coffee. I am quite surprised this is portrayed by Liu Yijun who has been known for portraying villain roles (Nirvana in Fire, Legend of Fuyao).

Nirvana in Fire co-stars, Liu Yijun and Liu Tao, reunited in Reset

I am also surprised Liu Tao (who portrayed Director Du) is part of the cast! I did not immediately recognize her in the short hair until episode 3 haha!

I also love the humor of this drama. I mean, it's well-crafted and has timing and not out of place. I did not know Bai Jingting can be funny during a serious situation. 😄

Nonetheless, I like how his character evolved, from a passive person who does not seem to care, to a warm individual who determines to stick with Li Shi Qing's side to help her solve the mystery of the time loop.

His character is implied to die in the end as staying long in the time loop takes a toll on his health.

Li Shi Qing is another well-written character, despite her young age, she is aware with her responsibility and determination to save everyone on board. Her motive is not to become a town hero but to simply save other passengers.

I am especially drawn to the character of Lu Di because he is a cat lover who has been rescuing homeless cats and giving them a loving home.

Cat of Lu Di being clingy as he leaves

The scene where he is leaving his cats and seeing them being clingy and telling Shi Qing and He Yun that it seems his cats have sensed it is his last day on earth is so emotional. I could feel the pain since we have rescue cats too. 😢

Remember that this story happens only in two hours so no wonder the casts wore only one outfit throughout the drama 😄

RESET is a highly-recommended drama to watch! Watch full episodes in English subtitles HERE

Here are other highly-recommended drama of Bai Jingting:

  • You Are My Hero (2021)
  • The Rise of Phoenixes (2018)
  • Rush to the Dead Summer (2017)
  • The Whirlwind Girl S1 (2015)

READ RELATED ARTICLES:

Post a Comment

0 Comments