3 Reasons To Watch The Empowering C-Drama

Mu Zhuo Hua (Jing Tian) is the seventh daughter of the richest man in Jiangnan. Since her mother was a concubine, Mu Zhuo Hua is considered “illegitimate.” Though her family had charted the road map of her life, which is marriage to a man chosen by them, little do they realize the feisty Mu Zhuo Hua has other plans for herself. She is driven and determined in her passion for study and is also a skilled physician. Her sole aim is to take the province’s civil examination and serve in the capital. The day her father takes his 18th concubine and the countdown to her wedding to the town’s magistrate starts, Mu Zhuo Hua flees her home.

Once she lands in the capital, she meets the enigmatic general Liu Yan (Feng Shao Feng). A progressive thinker and a leader par excellence, he is weighed down by his defeat in a battle. He seeks justice as he is aware there are conspirators around him. He forms an unlikely self-serving alliance with Mu Zhuo Hua, until Cupid strikes. But can these two independent and strong individuals achieve their dreams? Here are three reasons why “The Legend Of Zhuohua” is an epic saga that should be on your watch list.

A progressive storyline

“The Legend of Zhuohua” is a departure from the usual period dramas where we see the helplessness of its female protagonists, burdened by the diktats of their time and relying on the valor of their male counterparts to save them. But Mu Zhuo Hua braves the odds and discrimination to establish herself in a male-driven society. She is astute, quick-witted, and clever. Not one to shrink in the face of challenges, she questions society and its outdated practices. It is Liu Yan’s progressive ideas which allow women to participate in government affairs, and he encourages Mu Zhuo Hua in her quest to take the metropolitan exam.

The drama questions how women should not only have the right to education but also the freedom of choice when it comes to marriage and the plight of courtesans. Zhou Hua is aware that in society she will always be regarded as the illegitimate child, but she does not want her birth to decide her fate. Her mother, who has taught her to be independent, has inculcated a love for learning. Well aware that she does not stand much of a chance in a patriarchal set up, she is willing to take that chance. Liu Yan is also a socialist who believes in empowering the common people and working for their good. He is a man who is conflicted and fighting his inner demons but does not lose sight of his mission. It is refreshing to see two very strong, opinionated, and resilient leads as equals who take on the rest of the world.

A fearless female lead

Mu Zhuo Hua is ambitious. She is spunky, articulate, and despite her conservative upbringing, she defies the very system that threatens to enslave her. A self-reliant young girl, she uses her skills as a physician to treat the very people who are denied treatment, in this case, courtesans. “Out with the old, in with the new,” she confidently announces to her trusted girl-in-waiting. As she flees her forced nuptials and arrives in a new city, she is not overwhelmed. Her self-confidence is infectious, and she remembers her mother’s words on how it’s only education that would help her learn right from wrong. Unlike her peers, she refuses to be burdened with finding a suitor but rather wants a spot in managing public affairs.

It is a departure to have a heroine who defies the archetype of women usually seen in period dramas. She regards herself as an equal with her male counterpart even though society eyes her gender through the lens of prejudice. In her we also find a voice of a woman who wants to empower other women and not disempower them to win favors from those in power. It is Jing Tian’s uninhibited performance which adds spunk to Mu Zhuo Hua, making her an interesting character.

A compatible lead pairing

An unlikely couple, though dealing with their own issues and complexes, the lead couple is united in their mission, which is to help those around them. Mu Zhuo Hua is spunky and quirky in her outlook towards life, while Liu Yan is grim and serious, weighed down by his quest for justice. Though the two initially come together to help achieve their individualistic goals, they realize the end game is the same: they both want to make a difference. Mu Zhuo Hua retorts that as a physician she does not discriminate amongst her patients, and Liu Yan, despite his stiff demeanor, is a sensitive soul who is sincere in empowering everyone around him.

As the two find themselves thrown together, Liu Yan, though protective about Mu Zhuo Hua, never holds her back when it comes to her decisions, which wins him solid brownie points. A cute yet mature love story, the relationship between the two is that of two equals. And though “The Legend of Zhuohua” is a bit too long, it is still worth the watch.

Start watching “The Legend of Zhuohua”:

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Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yang Yang and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram

Currently watching: “Strong Girl Namsoon”

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