Mysterious Lotus Casebook C-drama: Ending Explained and Our Review

Mysterious Lotus Casebook review

Mysterious Lotus Casebook is one of the best costume Chinese drama releases this year. It is a detective drama with an impressive storyline, splendid martial arts execution, coherent plot development, heartwarming character development, and clever twists. Plus, it is to-billed by everyone's crush in the Chinese costume drama, Cheng Yi.

It's so rare to watch a drama that's beautifully written nowadays as most dramas are romance-centric without substance, thus Mysterious Lotus Casebook is a sweet treat this year to Asian drama fans. This is so far the only costume drama, apart from An Ancient Love Song, that I truly enjoyed this year. 

From left: Joseph Zeng as Fang Doubing, Xiao Shunyao as Di Fei Sheng, and Cheng Yi as Li Xiangyi/Lianhua 

It has a balance of humor, drama, action, suspense, and entertainment. Dialogue is deep, the plot twists are astounding and filled with thrill, and the story, especially how Li Lianhua acknowledges that life is not all about power and fame, offers enormous wisdom. 

As Lianhua ponders his life in retrospect and how the East Sea battle with Di Fei Sheng humbles him and keeps him grounded, we have seen how the character evolved, from a high-skilled martial artist who constantly seeks greatness, to a wandering doctor who seeks nothing but peace and silence, away from the chaos and power struggle in the martial arts world. Failure, more than success, therefore, is the beginning of wisdom.

Joseph Zeng as Fang Doubing and Cheng Yi as Li Xiangyi/Li Lianhua 

 Main Cast:

Cheng Yi takes on two characters with opposing personalities - Li Xiangyi, a legendary martial artist - and Li Lianhua, a wandering countryside doctor who lives in his mobile Lotus House.

Li Xiangyi is the leader of the Sigu Sect and is considered to be the best in the world when it comes to martial arts skills, but during his fight against Di Fei Sheng aboard a ship, he was struck by a sword laced with a deadly poison. He sank to the bottom of the sea but was able to survive.

Mysterious Lotus Casebook review
Cheng Yi as Li Xiangyi 

Mysterious Lotus Casebook review
Cheng Yi as Li Lianhua 

Joseph Zeng portrays Fang Doubing, a free-spirited young man whose aim is to become a great martial artist, safeguarding peace and justice in the martial arts world so he began to work as a detective to help solve strange cases in the jianghu. He adored Li Xiangyi since he was a child. 

Mysterious Lotus Casebook review
Joseph Zeng as Fang Doubing 

Xiao Shunyao portrays Di Fei Sheng, the leader of the Jinyuan Alliance, a rival of the Sigu sect. He always wanted to become the world's number one martial artist but his skill is always inferior to Li Xiangyi's ability. He later switched sides and joined Li Lianhua and Fang Doubing. 

Mysterious Lotus Casebook
Xiao Shunyao as Di Fei Sheng 

Plot Summary:

Li Xiangyi (Cheng Yi) suspected that the Jinyuan Alliance killed his senior, Shan Gudao (He Gang), and hid the body somewhere. To force the rival sect to release Shan Gudao's body, he challenged Di Fei Sheng (Xiao Shunyao) into a fight aboard the ship in the East Sea.

During their scuffle above the ship, Li Xiangyi was badly struck by the sword of Di Fei Sheng laced with a deadly poison secretly arranged by conspirators Jiao Li Qiao (Rain Wang) and Yun Biqui (Lu Hong), but he managed to sink the ship with him to wipe out the Jinyuan Alliance forces on board.

Days later, he was swept off to a seaside in a small fishing village and was cured by a Buddhist monk. but his health began to deteriorate due to the Bicha poison, and he was given only a few months to live. 

However, due to his unique inner power called Yangzhuman, the poison was blocked from spreading to his internal organs, making him survive. 

The story starts 10 years after the East Sea battle. Li Xiangyi assumes the identity of a wandering doctor, Li Lianhua, living in the countryside, dragging his mobile house, called the Lotus Tower, going from place to place. 

He raises a dog named Foxy Spirit and tended a radish farm to survive. But although he did not return to the martial arts world, he has one mission in life needed to accomplish - to find the dead body of his beloved senior, Shan Gudao.

But one day, he encounters Fang Doubing (Joseph Zeng), a free-spirited young man whose passion in life is to become a great martial artist. He also prides himself as the only disciple of Li Xiangyi. He becomes a detective for the Baichuan Academy, the Court of Justice in the martial arts world whose members are all from the dissolved Sigu Sect.

Li Lianhua and Fang Doubing's first encounter did not set well and they constantly bicker on almost everything. 

However, Fang Doubing realizes that Li Lianhua is witty and has a unique ability that can help him resolve strange cases in the jianghu, so he encourages him to participate in his investigation and pursuit of justice. By this time he is still unaware that Li Lianhua is his long lost master, Li Xiangyi. 

Li Lianhua later agrees in the hope of fulfilling his mission to find the dead body of Shan Gudao, and after this, he will forever leave the martial arts world and retire in a quiet place.

In one of the cases they investigated, Di Fei Sheng shows up and easily recognizes Li Lianhua as Li Xiangyi. But he notices that his old foe is suffering from poor health due to the Baicha poison.

Di Fei Sheng promises to find a cure so that they can have a duel again, a fight that would determine who among them is truly the best martial artist in the world. 

But by a strange twist of fate, the three of them later become allies, working hand in hand to fight the evils in society and uphold justice and peace in the martial arts world.

Our Review:

Mysterious Lotus Casebook is a riveting story of martial arts heroes' adventure in the jianghu, trying to solve strange cases of mystery and murders. 

The detective arc is filled with suspense and thrill with each case interconnecting seamlessly. The flow is smooth and has well-choreographed fight sequences.

The scenes will keep the viewers on the edge as the story presents mysterious murders, mind-bogging crimes, and conspiracy within the martial arts world. 

The resolution of each case is pretty fast but with an astounding sense of detail. The way Li Lianhua presented his arguments over a crime they investigated is intriguing which entices viewers to chase each episode to understand the narrative better.

So you just can't simply skip any scene no matter how boring the lengthy dialogues can be, because you will lose track as all the conversations and arguments are related to the case they investigated.

Mysterious Lotus Casebook drama review
Cheng Yi

But what is really great about this drama is how brotherhood, friendship, and heroism are woven into the most captivating journey of martial artists in safeguarding peace and justice in the community against tyranny and greed. 

It will help you realize that even warriors with opposing personalities can be good friends and can cooperate if they share the same ideals and intentions to get rid of all the evils in the community. 

I love the deep bond of brotherhood and friendship personified in this story, the positive aspect of having someone who genuinely takes care of you, and the sense of heroism that all warriors must embody to effectively bring peace and order to the world. 

This series made effort to humanize the martial arts world, that martial artists are not just cold-blooded warriors that kill each other but real people who have a soft side and who can be sweet too. Unlike other martial arts series, Mysterious Lotus Casebook is not bloody or gruesome.

It's super entertaining and there are plenty of highlights and heartwarming scenes that are relatable to real people. I love Cheng Yi's swordplay scenes and the way the fight sequences are executed. The bickering of the three main leads is so fun to watch!

This drama draws all sorts of human emotions: laughter, happiness, sadness, affection, care, thrill, scare, and joy. Everything. It has so many brilliant plot twists and unpredictable sequences which will leave drama viewers in awe and excitement. 

A well-written script with awesome plot development, there's always something to look forward to in every episode, so viewers are hooked to hang around to discover what will happen next. 

The script is logically written. The strange cases of murders and unexplained crimes, although occurred in different places and circumstances, are actually tied up to the main storyline in a smooth transition.

The way the investigation is handled and the way Li Lianhua presented his opinion and clues, pumped more thrill and intrigue so you cannot help but delve deeper into the mysteries being investigated to understand things better.

Mysterious Lotus Casebook review
Cheng Yi as Li Lianhua 

The fight scenes are fast and highly entertaining to watch. Cheng Yi has improved a lot in his martial arts execution compared to his other costume dramas. He shows more grit and flexibility here and executed all his fight scenes and swordplay in clean moves.

Although his portrayal of Li Lianhua started out sluggish (he is after all a person with a poisoned body), he handled the character's low energy pretty well by adding cute mannerisms, witty arguments, and subtle conveying of emotions. 

So as the story progresses, you would no longer see Lianhua as a lazy person devoid of energy but as a smart man with a sense of humor and charm. Cheng Yi manages to give a separate identity to both Li Lianhua and Li Xiangyi distinctly, so it's easy to identify who is Li Xiangyi and who is Li Lianhua. 

Unlike most actors who have voice talents to dub their characters in ancient dramas, Cheng Yi personally dubbed his Li Lianhua character, so there's a sense of attachment and authenticity between the actor and the character, making the portrayal more realistic. 

Joseph Zeng as Fang Doubing

Fang Doubing is another character that impressed me. This character shows a lot of progress and maturity as the story went on. Joseph Zeng flawlessly performed this role. He is so natural in his acting and his sense of humor gives energy to the drama.

The dynamic between Li Lianhua and Fang Doubing is so delightful to watch, their witty bantering, humorous teasing, and smart dialogues will make you crave to watch them more. They have a lot more chemistry compared to on-screen couples in other Chinese dramas this year.

The brotherhood bond became even more fun and interesting when Di Fei Sheng joined them and despite his villainous personification, he gradually changed and helped to restore peace in the jianghu. 

I also love how episode 40 was wrapped up. The scene in the seaside where they waited for Li Xiangyi to show up for his supposed fight with Di Fei Sheng was so touching. All significant characters of the drama were present in the scene. So we were able to see all of them. 

Joseph Zeng, Cheng Yi, and Xiao Shunyao

Lessons and Wisdom

Mysterious Lotus Casebook provides, not only a highly entertaining drama, but also enormous wisdom and learning lessons in life. The three main characters are both orphans and each of them has a touching back story that explains how past events have molded their personality and desire to make a difference in the martial arts world.

Li Xiangyi grew up in the street with Shan Gudao and were taken by a master in the martial arts world to be taught with martial arts techniques. They grew up close like blood brothers under the tutelage of this master. They later founded the Sigu sect.

After the East Sea battle with Di Fei Sheng, Li Lianhua realizes the importance of humility and living a good life instead of aiming for greatness. He also gave a deep meaning to heroism. That life is not all about himself, and that whatever he has, must be shared with others who need it. 

Related topic: 5 Brilliant Twists in Mysterious Lotus Casebook that leave us in awe

Mysterious Lotus Casebook drama review
Joseph Zeng and Liu Meng Rui 

When he was still a child, Fang Doubing's biological mother died, so he was raised by his maternal aunt whose husband worked as a palace official. His only wish is to become a great martial artist like his master, Li Xiangyi. He evolved into a righteous man. 

Although he decided to put off his wedding with Princess Zhaoling (Liu Meng Rui) in order to pursue his goal as a detective in the martial arts world, he did not close doors and he is open to the possibility that they could still meet again in the future and be together. 

He is someone who never abandons a friend, to the extent of traveling to the end of the world just to find Li Lianhua. He is also an affectionate son who treated his aunt and uncle as his real parents. Fang Doubing can be very emotional. He exhausted all his effort to save Li Lianhua from poison.

Di Fei Sheng also grew up in the street as a child and ended up taken by a cruel master who inflicted all kinds of brutality on him. He grew up vicious with a mindset of acquiring power to extract revenge. 

But at the end of the day, he is a person who still thinks of what is best. He chose good over evil. He also made a self-sacrifice by giving the precious Styx Flower to Li Lianhua to cure the Bicha poison despite the fact that he was chasing this treasure all his life. He eventually let go of his obsession to become the world's number one martial artist and used all his resources to find Li Lianhua.

Sacrificing one's self for the greater benefit of society and others, deep bonds of friendship, the essence of humility, and acknowledging one's weakness and transforming it into strength are the greatest take away from this drama.

Fang Doubing taking care of his "master" Li Lianhua

Ending Explained

The ending of Mysterious Lotus Casebook becomes the subject of debate and speculation from drama viewers who are left unsatisfied with how it ended. The final episode opens to a sea of possibilities and doubts as to what really happened to Li Lianhua. 

Others claimed it was a cliffhanger ending, sad, and confusing. 

But personally, they way I understand the narrative and how the characters were wrapped up. It was not a sad or hanging ending. It was a good ending as the main characters got their wishes what kind of life they wanted to live. 

Only that the scriptwriter chose to present a poignant finale (for cinematic purposes of course), a literary technique that most drama viewers have not fully absorbed. 

To help others understand how this drama ended, let's go back to the final scene (episode 40) and shred every detail to connect each piece to the flow of the narrative.

But first here's a background on how Li Lianhua made his decision to leave the martial arts world and bury Li Xiangyi forever so that he can start anew.

Li Xiangyi risked his life during the East Sea battle with Di Fei Sheng for his senior, Shan Gudao. But 10 years later, he discovered that this senior tricked and betrayed him. In fact, it was Shan Gudao who deliberately challenged the Jinyuan Alliance which resulted to the destruction of both sects.

Realizing the greatest deception that unfolded in his life involving his senior, Li Xiangyi was filled with torment and resentment. But it provided him an opportunity to ponder on his fate, where and why things went wrong. 

He later realized that his defeat during the East Sea battle and the destruction of the Sigu sect might also be the results of his stubbornness and arrogance and his desire to be great. 

So he decided to never return to the Sigu sect, changed his perspective in life, and disappeared from the martial arts world to seek redemption. He decided to be less regretful and remorseful, he also recognized how the turn of events humbled him. 

In episode 39, Di Fei Sheng gave him the miraculous plant called Styx Flower to cure his Bicha poison but he did not use it right away because he needed to adjust his inner power to make the detoxification effective. So Fang Doubing locked it for safekeeping.

But he later found out that the emperor was poisoned by Shan Gudao during the fight to easily control him and usurped the throne. 

Li Lianhua also discovered that the emperor was angry with the Fang family for hiding the true identity of Fang Doubing as the son of Shan Gudao. The emperor wanted to punish the Fang family for the deception by removing Mr. Fang from his palace post. And probably sequestered their properties and assets.

So Li Lianhua needed to act to save the Fang family as well as the emperor (from poison). So he made a sacrifice by offering the Styx Flower to the emperor to cleanse the poison and in return, spare the Fang family from severe punishment.

The emperor agreed to the deal, retaining Mr. Fang in his palace post, allowing Fang Doubing to work on his passion for the martial arts world, and postponing the marriage with Princess Zhaoling.

When Fang Doubing found out that the turn of events was due to the deal made by Lianhua in exchange for the Styx Flower, he was furious, scolding Li Lianhua for missing the chance of curing his poison despite the sacrifice made by Di Fei Sheng to give him the miraculous plant.

Li Lianhua then said that the emperor's life is more important because he has a big responsibility toward the people and the country. He also said that the Styx flower only guarantees a 30% chance of curing the Bicha poison in his body. So he better gave it to someone who needed it most.

The opening of Episode 40 shows Yun Biqiu tied to be sentenced to death due to the betrayal he did to the Sigu sect and for conspiring with Jiao Li Qiao to poison Li Xiangyi 10 years ago.

But before Shi Shui (Wu Shile) could slash his throat with her sword, Li Lianhua rushed to the scene wearing his red martial arts garment, assuming the identity of Li Xiangyi one last time.

He revealed to the public and in front of his former disciples how Yun Biqiu secretly atoned his sins and secretly saved him from Jiao Li Qiao's scheming. 

The revelation was even more shocking when he revealed piece by piece all the good deeds of Yun Biqiu to allow them to win against Shan Gudao and Jiao Li Qiao in the final battle.

Yun Biqiu was saved but found out he was poisoned by Jiao Li Qiao. Without any hope of finding an antidote to detoxify his body, Li Xiangyi once again made a sacrifice by activating his dwindling inner power to cleanse Yun Biqiu's system from poison.

He also explained why he no longer hated Biqiu for what he did 10 years ago. That the past does not matter anymore. What matters is the future life. He told Biqiu to live well and pursue the things he always wanted to do. The same parting words he uttered to Qiao Wan Mian (Chen Duling) his former love.

He then said: I really should not have been wasteful when I was young then I would not have had to put my life on the line just to do some good with my inner power. He also admitted that maybe the failure during the East Sea battle was caused by his own stubbornness. 

In the years after he survived the East Sea battle and assumed a different identity, he realized that he had forgotten the martial arts world and no longer yearned to be the best or to be admired by anyone. 

He began to appreciate the simplicity of life and what really matters most. "I  kept myself fed and even kept the dog fed. Such a life was perfect".

Joseph Zeng and Cheng Yi

Li Xiangyi has so many realizations while assuming the identity of Li Lianhua. The result of his battle with Di Fei Sheng in the East Sea greatly humbled him and made him a righteous person who no longer care about being the best in the world, but just living each day in peace.

He eventually found joy in simple things in life - planting vegetables, seeing the sun, and enjoying life in solitude. Letting go of regret and remorse, he no longer holds grudges against those who wronged him. He was determined to start life anew.

Cheng Yi as Li Xiangyi and Li Lianhua 

After living a simple life in his Lotus House where he learned how to cook and tend flowers and plants, Li Lianhua saw a different world that he thought had never existed - a peaceful and quiet world free from chaos and greed, a world where surviving each day with decent food on the table is the most important thing. A life free from the burden of guilt.

Back when he was still the leader of the Shigu sect he always strived to be different, to be the best in the world, and to reign supreme above anyone else. His focus to outsmart everyone became the catalyst of his downfall and the alienation of his girlfriend, Qiao Wan Mian. 

After the East Sea battle, Li Lianhua became a broken man. He had nothing left except himself. He was ashamed to show up to his sect. The defeat pained him bitterly. But life has to move on. So he began planting radish veges to put food on his table.

He realized that living in simplicity afforded him the kind of peace he never experienced before. He then recognized that life is not all about power, it is not all about aiming to become the best in the world. But it is all about living each day in peace.

So he decided to never go back to being Li Xiangyi because that personality was stubborn, so full of himself, full of anger, and ambition to be great. He wanted to change. He wanted to redeem himself.

During his conversation with Fang Doubing and Di Fei Sheng (episode 39) outside the Lotus House, the latter asked him what he wanted to do next. Li Lianhua simply replied: I want to see the sun and go fishing.

He left the Lotus House, his dog, and notes of martial arts techniques to Fang Doubing, and began his long journey to the unknown. He also broke his sword in front of Xiao Zijin when the latter confronted him about Qiao Wan Mian. Then jumped off to the river.

The last scene in episode 40 was a scene on the beach with all the characters in the drama present. They were waiting for Li Xiangyi to show up for hid duel with Di Fei Sheng. But what they got was a letter from Li Lianhua delivered by a fisherman to Fang Doubing.

Mysterious Lotus Casebook drama review
Fang Doubing reading the letter from Li Lianhua

In his lettter, Li Lianhua said that winning no longer fascinates him. That aiming to be the best in the world is no longer attractive. What he wanted is peace and silence. And whatever the future holds for him he is ready to face it. 

He also said that he is confident Fang Doubing would become great in the future and might even surpass his ability. And if Di Fei Sheng still wants a fight, he can ask Fang Doubing in his place.

Episode 40 ended with a view of the gorgeous sea and with Di Fei Sheng acknowledging that Li Xiangyi could never be replaced. But Fang Doubing refused to believe that his dear friend Li Lianhua is already dead so he made a vow to find him.

Mysterious Lotus Casebook drama review
Li Lianhua leaves the jianghu 

However, episode 40 was not totally the end of the drama. It has an epilogue to show events following the news that Li Lianhua disappeared to unknown place. 

The epilogue

Three months after the beach scene where Fang Doubing received a letter from Li Lianhua, explaining why he decided to leave and never to pursue martial arts anymore, we saw members of the Sigu sect looking for Li Xiangyi everywhere.

Fang Doubing and Li Lianhua's dog, Foxy, moved from place to place to look for him. Di Fei Sheng also activated his allies to look for Li Lianhua and told them to never give up.

One day, Fang Doubing went to the mountain with Foxy in tow. Foxy then barked at the beggar holding Li Lianhua's bag of candy. The beggar said he got it from the dead. We could only speculate that he got it from the grave that Li Lianhua built for his Li Xiangyi persona. 

Perhaps he left it there in purpose.

After asking the man where he could track the "dead" (the grave perhaps), Fang Doubing and Foxy left the scene. We saw the next scene showing Di Fei Sheng and Fang Doubing on horseback rushing to the beachside. They also brought Foxy with them. 

Li Lianhua's dog, Foxy Spirit

As Fang Doubing and Di Fei Sheng disembarked from their respective horses, we saw Foxy rushing to the beachside, gleefully wagging his tail, recognizing a familiar figure standing along the shoreline, facing the ocean.

From what we saw on Foxy's thrilled reaction upon seeing the man, it was obvious that he recognized his master. Not as a ghost but as a real living person.

Foxy recognizes the man standing near the shoreline and excitedly wags his tail

The camera moved and we saw Li Lianhua in his white fur coat pensively staring at the ocean. He appeared calm and relaxed as though he was finally free from burden. His lips were red and his cheeks in natural shade, indicating that he is in good shape. 

Mysterious Lotus Casebook review
Li Lianhua in the final scene

No words were spoken between them (it was a style that the writer and director chose to make it more dramatic). Just an empty space and silence. And the gentle rolling of the waves in front of them. Then the camera rolled and the scene ended with a view of the ocean and gentle splashing of the waves. 

It was a poignant finale as the sea scene has a significant role in the lives of Li Xiangyi and Di Fei Sheng and the whole drama. It was the setting of the prologue detailing the spectacular battle of these two great martial artists 10 years ago.

Mysterious Lotus Casebook review
Fang Doubing and Di Fei Sheng disembarked from the horse and stared at the man standing facing the sea. They know it was Li Lianhua

So it was a perfect setting to end an extraordinary story of adventure and heroism. The three friends still find themselves reunited after months of confusion, worries, and anxiety. 

It was a peaceful ending actually because everything has been settled. Everything has been resolved. Characters' fate was sealed. Li Lianhua got the life he wanted. And we also saw him in the flesh. And Fang Doubing can continue his passion to be a martial artist as revealed in the emperor's edict.

So I don't understand why some drama viewers complained it was an opening ending? The epilogue answered it all. The writer showed it all. So what's the confusion? Everything was resolved and settled and answered. 

Or maybe viewers expected a party in the jianghu, a long conversation, or tight hugs from the three dudes in the final scene. 😂

Li Lianhua and his dog, Foxy Spirit

Let's not complicate ourselves. We don't have any clear evidence that Li Lianhua died. I believed the image of Li Lianhua standing on the shoreline was real and not a ghost. He did not look like an illusion of Fang Doubing and Di Fei Sheng as other drama viewers insisted. The fact that Foxy recognized him as a living person and not as a ghost is an indication that Li Lianhua indeed is alive.

Remember that he has the capacity to cure the Bicha poison as he revealed to Yun Biqiu during their last conversation in episode 40.

He is the descendant of the mystic Nanyin princess, his blood can even kill a karmic bug so there's a possibility that he was able to delay the spread of the poison in his body, extending his life. 

From the look of his face in the final scene, Li Lianhua seems aware that his two friends and his dog were at his back. It looks like he was anticipating their arrival, so perhaps the candy bag that the beggar held was actually his way of giving his friend a clue where to find him.

Realizing what Li Lianhua had always wanted - to go fishing, Fang Doubing and Di Fei Sheng, bringing Foxy with them, figured out where their friend can be found. So it was logical that they were able to trace Li LianHua's whereabouts on the beachside.

A fitting finale for a fallen hero

When you try to go back to what Li Lianhua really wanted to do with his life, you will understand that the story ended the way Li Lianhua had wished for. To disappear from the martial arts world, live in peace in a quiet place, and go fishing.

So there's a clear resolution of the main character's fate. It stood loyal to the narrative of what Li Lianhua wanted to do with his life. The ending clearly presented it. So it was not a hanging ending because all conflicts were resolved. 

The final episode presented Li Lianhua's realization that life is not all about power, that life is not all about showing to the world that you are mighty. That there's a different world that existed beyond the martial arts community. A world that's filled with endless possibilities to make life worth living.  

His wish was to live in peace, see the sun, and go fishing, which he actually fulfilled when he disappeared to a small fishing village. So this character was properly wrapped up and there was no unfinished business.

Perhaps, the root of the dissatisfaction of some people is how it ended because they didn't see real interaction between Li Lianhua, Fang Doubing, and Xiao Shunyao. As we all know, drama fans are highly visual people. They want to see real things falling into place and not some poetic narrative that's hard to absorb,  

Mysterious Lotus Casebook continued to be mysterious until the end. 😂

Perhaps, that's how the scriptwriter designed this drama, to be more intriguing and haunting so that it has a memorable recall. 

It was a poignant ending but it doesn't mean it was hanging. It was just how the writer set the mood of emotion to make it more dramatic.

Li Lianhua with his dog

Ending Style

In scriptwriting, there are different types of literary techniques that the writers are often used to wrap up a story. The most popular is Resolution, this is the type of ending where the story has a happily-ever-after scene, a sort of fairytale. But this style often lacks a climactic feel and is only suited for romance stories.

In Mysterious Lotus Casebook, the scriptwriter chose the "realization" and "expanded" types of ending for cinematic purposes. 

A realization ending means the story shows how the main protagonist is able to figure out what to do with his life and how the turn of events fuels his desire to change direction for the better.

An expanded ending is a type of storytelling that involves an epilogue (the extra scene after episode 40). It means expanding the world of the story beyond the events of the narrative itself. 

It is the writer's way of answering a question about what happened to some characters after the final scene was presented. Its purpose is to allow the viewers to delve better into the drama and ponder on the fate of the protagonist.

If the drama will end in a happily-ever-after scenario, sort of fairytale. It's always uneventful. You don't have any participation, you are just merely witnessing the story end. But when the ending is expanded it will challenge your brain to participate in the story, making the experience more intense and meaningful. 

But unlike other dramas that misused the expanded ending narrative to the point of crafting a vague finale, Mysterious Lotus Casebook laid down some hints of what really happened to Li Lianhua, so we have enough clues on how this character was wrapped up in the story.

So did he survive?

Liu Fang, the scriptwriter of Lotus Casebook, in her post on Weibo, said "Li Lianhua is forever free" and "got his wish". She did not elaborate to allow readers to use their imagination haha! 

But understanding what she insinuated, it is easy to conclude that indeed Li Lianhua is alive and he is out there somewhere, enjoying his life, basking in the sunshine, having peace of mind, and able to fulfill his wish to go fishing.

And so that scene in the epilogue where Li Lianhua stood in the seaside was real and not just a hallucination of Fang Doubing and Di Fei Sheng. Foxy wagged his tail and stared in excitement which means he recognized his owner as a real person and not some kind of a ghost.

Mysterious Lotus Casebook was able to resolve the conflicts. The characters fulfilled their wishes to live the kind of life they wanted. Antagonists were gone. Some traitors atoned for their sins. 

Li Xiangyi is gone but Li Lianhua lives on. He is still alive and fulfilled his wish to stay away from the martial arts world, live in peace, enjoy the fresh breeze, and see the sun. 

So it was properly wrapped up. It was not a hanging ending. Only that the writer chose a different style of storytelling to create an intriguing finale, allowing the viewers to participate in the story for a more gripping experience. But what matters most is that it stood loyal to the narrative.

From the literary point of view, an ending isn’t merely a finale of the drama, but an important section of a narrative’s structure that shapes its overall significance with emotional impact. 

In the end, whether Li Lian Hua is alive or not, is beyond the scope of this drama. What the audience gained the most is actually the way of doing things in real life. The world is vast and there is no need to be persistent when things can't no longer be fixed. Don't live in regrets. Learn to let go. Forgive. Move on. And start life anew. Tomorrow things will get better".


Another lengthy discussion that we tackled about this drama is the genre it belonged. Is it really a solid wuxia? Or just a detective drama? 

In a classic wuxia drama, elements include rivalry and struggle within the martial arts sects, tension, and conflict among martial artists, sword battles, and the use of other martial arts techniques such as hand combat.

Mysterious Lotus Casebook shows some of these elements but only minimal, the focus of the story is investigation of murder cases and other crimes. And the battles were merely the result of these strange cases and not really the rivalry of the sects.

So from the basic perspective of the plot, Mysterious Lotus Casebook is a costume investigative drama with elements of martial arts woven into it and not a solid wuxia. 

Read related topic: 5 Brilliant Twists in Mysterious Lotus Casebook

You can watch all episodes on iQiyi (but requires a paid membership). However, there are other websites that do not require paid membership to watch dramas so maybe you can check it there.

Our rating:

  • Story - 10/10
  • Acting - 10/10
  • Music - 9/10
  • Aesthetics - 8/10
  • Screenplay - 9/10
  • Cinematography - 10/10
  • Re-watch value - 10/10

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  1. Actually, as a fan of ChengYi that has watched him grow in many dramas, l didn't get it as to why he chose to speak in monotones. Probably, to show how weak Li LinHua is due to the poisoning .(shrugs)
    On the other hand, Leo YunXi was brilliant to speak in monotones in Till the End of the Moon to portray how weak Tan TaiJin is upon the poor diet & bullying he suffered under his wife's Queen Control & others too.
    It works!
    When l studied Drama techiniques in a university in Malaysia , different tones of voice are needed to express different emotions that you wish to portray.

    I am sorry, this time , he didn't live up to my expectations as a senior drama actor.

    However, the best scene for me was when Li LinHua was captured & got half blinded.The way he kept moving his eyes, squinting as his vison was blurry & he struggled to find as to who were practising in the dungeon then, twisting his head to hear the direction of the voices was excellent :)
    I used to work & chatted with blind Paralympic athletes & officials so, l kinda know how they acted.
    May be that's what ChengYi does best as described by his fans :

    " He acts with his eyes " ..hahaaa


    An ex-drama lecturer from Malaysia :)
    P/s: l scored A in Drama techniques was offered to join Broadway in NYC but, l scored just C in Scriptwriting comment except viewers nowdays don't study literature much like we do to understand complicated literary devices so, it is best to keep the ending comprehensible to all levels of age & intelligence ya.