In Blossom Chinese Drama Introduces Body Swapping Trope. Here's How It is So Far

 In Blossom Chinese drama

I just watched the first five episodes of In Blossom last night, Youku's new costume drama, and surprised to find out that this drama is all about body swapping! 😂

Just think of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage's movie, Face Off, in 1997 (directed by Hong Kong director, John Woo) and you will get the picture. The only difference is that Face Off was done scientifically (facial surgery), while "In Blossom", was done through witchcraft. 😄

In Blossom Chinese drama
Just think of Face Off (a 1997 movie) and you will get the picture of them body-swapping

The first two episodes are devoted to building the lovable and amiable character, Yang Cai Wei, and I was a bit confused because she was not played by Ju Jingyi, so I had to replay the episode thinking I was watching a different drama haha!

In Blossom Chinese drama
Zheng He Huizi as Yang Cai Wei

The original Yang Cai Wei is played by Zheng He Hui Zi, and she's so good in all aspects - her delivery, her eyes, her facial expression, the timing of her acting, her pretty face, her charm, her demeanor, and most of all, her good rapport with Liu Xueyi's character, Pan Yue.

So in my mind, she's the perfect female lead choice for this drama. There's a good amount of sympathy she right away established in the first two episodes. In other words, she instantly connected to the viewers. 

And I was wondering what Ju Jingyi's character would be lol! So somewhere in the second episode, Shangguan Zhi (Ju Jingyi) finally showed up, and alas! She's the wicked woman in the story. Goodness! 😆

In Blossom Chinese drama
Zheng He Huizhi as Yang Cai Wei and Liu Xueyi as Pan Yue

This kind of plot can be polarizing because the audience will have to take sides of who's the best between the two. Easily, my choice is Zheng He Huizi judging from the two episodes. Her presence was felt right away. 

In Blossom Chinese drama
Zheng He Huizi and Liu Xueyi established strong chemistry 

I shared this sentiment with domestic viewers (based on their comments on Weibo) who also thought Zheng He Huizi delivers well and has a strong impact to the viewers. 

In Blossom Chinese drama
Zheng He Huizi as Yang Cai Wei 

What's troubling is the fact that the script spends a good deal of time building a major character portrayed by a different actress who would not be seen throughout the drama. Zheng He Huizi is only a guest star, she still appeared in the succeeding episodes but only in flashbacks. 

I've read discussions in Douban and most domestic fans find Zheng He Hui Zi more effective than Ju Jingyi as the female lead. Her presence has a strong impact, indeed. 

Zheng He Huizi as Yang Cai Wei

She established a more "catchy" personality and her interaction with Liu Xueyi's character is a lot sweeter and more engaging.

Others commented that the script should have not devoted so much time building Yang Cai Wei's character through Zheng He Hui Zi because it steals away the audience's sympathy for Ju Jingyi. 

But whatever it is, it's only in the first three episodes, and from episode 4, the trajectory of the story changes. You may read my personal take on the drama if this one is for you.

In Blossom Chinese drama
Liu Xueyi as Pan Yue

Warning: Spoiler ahead. You might not like being given clues. So you may or may not proceed.

Anyway, so what happened in the first five episodes? The plot summary shared by the production is a bit confusing, so here's what this drama is all about:

In Blossom (English translation of the Chinese title: Flower Order), follows Yang Cai Wei (she's the main character in the story) played by Zheng He Hui Zi. She is the childhood friend and the beloved of Pan Yue (Liu Xueyi) but her family was murdered when she was still a child.

She was able to escape but she bore a scar on her face. She was raised by a retired coroner whom she called Shifu (master). They live in a place called "Coffin House" and they take charge of examining dead bodies in Heyang.

In Blossom Chinese drama
Liu Xueyi as Pan Yue

Based on flashbacks and Pan Yue's retelling of events, we knew that they'd been betrothed as children. They even received an imperial order/permission from the emperor to marry. 

Based on the history of ancient dynasties in China, once an emperor gives his approval on the betrothal, the two people cannot disobey it. They also cannot break the promise of marriage unless the emperor takes it back.

But Pan Yue favored the emperor's marriage approval because he loves Yang Cai Wei. However, after the massacre of her family, they didn't see each other until they became adults.  Nonetheless, he didn't stop from loving her. He was also hoping that one day, they could meet again. 

In Blossom Chinese drama
Liu Xueyi and Ju Jingyi

Shangguan Zhi (Ju Jingyi), on the other hand, is someone he only treated as his younger sister and he has no feelings for her. But she is so obsessed with him, she's willing to do anything just to win his heart and attention. 

Shangguan Zhi is a wicked, vicious woman. She is feared by her servants due to her cruel and arrogant behavior. She has spent an enormous time making herself beautiful and attractive to charm Pan Yue, so she employs a witch doctor to concoct medicines for her to stay beautiful.

In Blossom Chinese drama
Ju Jingyi as the vicious Shangguan Zhi

In other words, Yang Cai Wei is the admirable, loveable, and sweet girl in the story, while Shangguan Zhi is the cruel, manipulative, and vicious woman. 

Finally, Pan Yue locates the whereabouts of Yang Cai Wei and he immediately sets the date of their wedding, but he gives Cai Wei the freedom to choose to come to their wedding or not. 

Upon hearing this news, the jealous Shangguan Zhi begins planning an evil act to prevent the wedding from taking place.

In Blossom Chinese drama
The body switching scene

Meanwhile, Yang Cai Wei realizes that Pan Yue really loves her, so she decides to come to their wedding. But on her way, Shangguan Zhi abducts her and brings her to the mountain. Her witch doctor began the ritual of "switching" their bodies or their souls, whatever is the appropriate term.

To wipe out the evidence of her evil act. Shangguan Zhi, now in the body of Yang Cai Wei (Zheng He Hui Zi), pushed her witch doctor and Yang Cai Wei (in the body of Shangguan Zhi - Ju Jingyi) to the cliff. 

In Blossom Chinese drama
Zheng He Hui Zi

It is actually Shangguan Zhi in the body of Yang Cai Wei (Zheng He Hui Zi) who arrives at the wedding venue. 

Yang Cai Wei (in the body of Shangguan Zhi) meanwhile survives the fall. She makes her way out of the mountain and hurries to the wedding venue. But too late as the wedding ceremony has already finished.

Looking around the courtyard, she sees Pan Yue, still in his wedding dress, stepping out of the room. But before she could react, she saw her body (possessed by Shangguan Zhi) fall to death. 

She leaves Pan Yue's courtyard, but later collapses. Her brother, Shangguan Lan (played by Zhang Rui), brings her back home to recuperate. 

While in a coma, she dreamed of meeting Pan Yue in the mountain, only to be stabbed by him. She suddenly wakes up and because she is Yang Cai Wei in the body of Shangguan Zhi she knows nothing in the new environment and the people around her. 

She learns that she has been in a coma for a month. She also finds out that Pan Yue is now engaged to Princess Changle and has been promoted to the Magistrate position. She began to doubt the real cause of the death of Yang Cai Wei (her body). 

The fact that Pan Yue easily gets engaged to the princess just weeks after the death of his wife makes her realize that he might have murdered his wife so that he can break free from the emperor's edict of their marriage, and marry a princess.

Saddened by the thought that Pan Yue might have not loved her at all, Shangguan Zhi or Yang Cai Wei (whatever makes you comfortable) decided to investigate the real cause of Yang Cai Wei's death. She suspected Pan Yue as the murderer but she needs evidence to bring him to court.

Since (she is Yang Cai Wei in the body of Shangguan Zhi) she has knowledge of how to examine the real cause of death of a person, she began searching the burial ground of Yang Cai Wei.

Meanwhile, Pan Yue saw a pouch (the one he gave to Yang Cai Wei) fall from Shangguan Zhi's skirt. He immediately identified it and began suspecting that Shangguan Zhi might be behind the death of his wife.

Given the circumstances of the situation (the original Shangguan Zhi was obsessed with him and wanted to marry him), Shangguan Zhi has all the motives to kill his new wife. 

This is where the story picks up. 

Yang Cai Wei in the body of Shangguan Zhi starts suspecting Pan Yue as the murderer so she must investigate him. Pan Yue, on the other hand, suspects Shangguan Zhi as the person behind the death of his wife so he must investigate her.

They are actually investigating each other who is the real murderer. So they need to keep each other close to gather evidence. 😄

In Blossom Chinese drama
Zheng He Hui Zi

In other words, what we see is actually the real Yang Cai Wei in the body of Shangguan Zhi. This is quite uncomfortable to swallow since we know that the real Yang Cai Wei is not played by Ju Jingyi, and we now must learn to go with the body-swapping illusion.

It remains to be seen how this story would be logically wrapped up.

My First Impression of In Blossom

At first, I had less sympathy with Ju Jingyi's character, Shangguan Zhi. She's vicious and cruel. My sympathy was with Yang Cai Wei (Zheng He Huizi). She's the ideal lead character type - kind, sweet, courageous. 

I also find the interaction between Zheng He Huizi and Liu Xueyi more endearing than Liu Xueyi with Ju Jingyi. The switch changes my perspective. 

Since Ju Jingyi now assumes the character of the amiable Yang Cai Wei, her personality is a lot more charming and calm. I also find her a bit humorous. 

Ju Jingyi is really suited to charming and sweet roles rather than vicious roles. Although actors need to experiment with different roles to see their growth as performers, Ju Jingyi's facial features are on the soft side of life haha! The transition to dark roles can be a bit challenging since she has a baby face and sleepy eyes. 

It's so hard to paint a villain streak on her face. Although she tried to act savage, adding intensity to her facial expression, it just looked so unnatural. Perhaps, she needs to attend an intense acting workshop to do dark roles effectively.

I cannot find any "fire" in her eyes as the manipulative and cruel Shangguan Zhi. Somehow there's lacking in her delivery. Perhaps, the way she pulls a supposed "arrogant" facial expression. There's some strength, but the overall impact did not match to her demeanor.

In Blossom Chinese drama
Ju Jingyi as Shangguan Zhi

I also have to complain about her makeup. Again. It's really the same styling from her previous dramas. The heavy cake foundation and the red circle around her eyes. I don't know if it's her choice, but her makeup artist likes to apply red eyeliner. 

Is this her makeup artist's decision to have the same makeup application in all her drama projects?

It's really weird. In the first two episodes, her face was so heavy with foundation that she almost looked like a geisha. That same red contouring around her eyes I saw in Beauty of Resilience is back again 🙈

But Liu Xueyi, yeah! He is so handsome! He is really suited to do costume series, the ancient styling of long hair and flowing robes made him more gorgeous. He is so irresistible in every angle. 

It's also good to see him finally in the main lead role in the costume genre. He knows how to carry an ancient drama character. He can also fire an intense acting performance.

Okay, did I say I have a change in perspective about Ju Jingyi? 

After she assumed the character and personality of Yang Cai Wei, everything looks good. From her appearance, her styling, and her delivery. She finally finds her groove. Her makeup has softened and not anymore disturbing. 😂

In Blossom Chinese drama
Ju Jingyi as Yang Cai Wei

I also love the fact that she can pull a good timing in humor. Her interaction with Liu Xueyi also improves. From episode four, their rapport has developed, and I can now watch them together in a scene with so much ease. 

This drama is more on the investigation side of things rather than solid romance. If ever there's romance between the two main characters, it is slow-burn, their focus right now is investigating the murder of Pan Yue's wife. Definitely, romance is not in their minds at the moment.

Besides, Pan Yue sees the character of Ju Jingyi as Shangguan Zhi who he didn't like, and not Yang Cai Wei, so romance is definitely not in his mind. 

The story is good. There's a hook in every episode due to the element of "hidden identity" and the thrill of finding the real culprit of the murder case.

It looks like more antagonists will be showing up in the succeeding episodes, and Pan Yue will be the target of treachery and conspiracy from power-hungry and corrupt officials. 

The real culprit of his wife's murder looks like one of the "Four Greats", an elite group of powerful clans in the kingdom. 

The leaders of these clans seem working together to frame him for the murder and determine to bring him down. 

So apart from solving the murder of his wife, he has to deal with his secret enemies, this organization has more sinister plans to ruin him. 

There are plenty of thrill elements waiting to be unleashed in the upcoming episodes due to the elements of crime, conspiracy, mystery, and identity secrets, making this drama an interesting watch.

This is a good choice for people who like investigative/crime-thriller/suspense dramas. As of now, there's enough reason to root for the story.

Hopefully, the writing is consistent as the story progresses. I checked the background of the director, Zhong Qing. He is known for modern youth romance series such as Accidentally In Love (Guo Junchen and Amy Sun) and Please Feel at Ease Mr. Ling (Zhao Lusi and Liu Te). 

In Blossom is actually his first ancient costume drama. The two scriptwriters - Yu Hai Lin and Zhong Jing are also pretty new in the industry. 

Their only ancient costume drama credit is Handsome Siblings in 2020. So let's see how this team would bring this drama into a level that intensifies our interest. 

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