We are infected by our own misunderstandings of how our own minds work- Kevin Kelly
The above lines pretty much sum up the entirety of this highly anticipated sequel. Fighting Mr. 2nd works on the premise of “Forgiveness and Redemption”. The only glitch is the presence of a highly volatile character (Zhou Shu Yi) whose wounds cut deep and his heart has been bleeding profusely, since he seemingly broke up with his better half. “Seemingly” is a rather loosely interpreted term here, because although in his mind Shu Yi has given up on Gao Shi De, the truth is far from the reality. His heart still craves the intimacy and warmth of their rather short- lived relationship and denial seems the only plausible solution.
This seems to be the existent theme for the entire series. Fighting Mr. 2nd First promises alot of angst, pain and separation with a possible promise of reconciliation. There are too many key factors involved and the show’s consistently high ratings can be attributed to the sensual chemistry between the main leads Sam Lin and Yu. While the prequel We Best Love: No. 1 For You focused on developing their blossoming relationship, the sequel is filmed five years later and heavily emphasizes on “Adulting”. Let’s dig deeper into the first episode and try to understand this premise better!
The sequel to “No. 1 For You” takes place five years after Zhou Shu Yi and Gao Shi De have graduated from college. Shu Yi is currently the Vice President of his Father’s company while Shi De works as the CEO for his stepfather’s enterprise. Due to financial difficulties, Shi De’s company faces a hostile takeover. Unbeknownst to him, Shu Yi is at the helm of these events and decides to use the given opportunity to relentlessly torture Shi De for breaking his heart. While Shi De wants to reconcile, Shu Yi vehemently denies his own feelings. Will they reconcile or will Shu Yi turn everything into a game of vengeance? Can Shi De gain Shu Yi’s forgiveness? Will they get back together or the five years separation has dealt an unbelievable blow to their fragile relationship?
Zhou Shu Yi’s Character Consistency
Zhou Shu Yi has been the most consistent character throughout this series. Atleast his flaws are! Our understanding of this character leads us to believe that Shu Yi is quite arrogant and temperamental but he loves with his entire heart. His ability to love selflessly overshadow his negative traits and hence, the audiences are able to connect with this character. Shu Yi is brilliant academically and although he is smart while dealing with most difficulties, he is overtly sensitive. The first episode focuses on his trials and tribulations, as Shu Yi comes to terms with the possible betrayal by the one person, whom he loved and trusted immensely. His trust is fragile and this one factor makes him highly vulnerable.
While the first season mainly focused on Gao Shi De’s internal struggles, the fact remains that Shu Yi fell fast and easily. Like most couples, Shu Yi and Shi De never got the chance to understand each other, before they were separated. As such, Shu Yi is seemingly caught in a web of insecurities and self reparation, primarily because he doesn’t know Shi De well enough. They were in the blossoming stages of their relationship and as such, when Shu Yi sees Shi De with another woman and baby, his mind automatically switches to the worst possible scenario. There are many who argue that communication is the key and as such, Shu Yi should have questioned Shi De instead of staging a walk-out. But we need to understand, that Shu Yi has already loved and lost once. As such, he is highly skeptical and also insecure.
Vengeance can turn an individual’s mind into a pretty ugly space and Shu Yi is currently going through that phase. His chance meeting with Shi De after a span of five years is explosive. Although in the starting credits, we hear him talking about burying his feelings forever, Shu Yi is not that kind of character. When he falls for someone, he loves deeply and hence, winning his heart would be a monumental task. He will not forgive Shi De nor make his life any easy. I’m already anticipating the sweet revenge that Shu Yi will consistently dish with copious amounts of betrayal. Will Shi De survive this attack is yet to be seen?
“You asked me to have eyes only for you. Now it is my turn to fight back”
Gao Shi’s Downfall and Inherent Flaws
Gao Shi De might be more level-headed, but he isn’t flawless either. He spent the better half of the prequel hiding his true feelings from Shu Yi and eventually when they got together, their relationship fell apart due to the unwarranted separation. Shi De has an incurable habit of bottling his emotions and this hesitancy lead to their apparent breakup. While Shu Yi is led astray by his highly emotional state, Shi De’s inability to communicate is the most plausible cause for the deterioration of their rather fragile relationship. Shu Yi might not understand him well because he never got the chance to do so. Unlike Shi De who has followed him closely and knows his deepest secrets as well as fears!
Five years later, we have a more mature version of Shi De who wants to reconcile with Shu Yi and is ready to face all kinds of possible retribution. He understands Shu Yi’s anger and maybe deep down, he feels guilty for putting Shu Yi through an emotional wringer. The present Gao Shi De is absolutely clear about his life goals which revolve around his personal and professional life. While he is insistent about ensuring the job security of his employees, he also fervently hopes for Shu Yi’s forgiveness. The difference in the character dynamics is unprecedented. It is emotionally high-strung, so much so that the audiences can’t escape the conflicting emotions. I’m currently going through a phase where I’m confused about choosing sides. Should I support Shu Yi who was left devastated by his own misunderstandings or Shi De who is trying to redeem his past mistakes? The first episode left me with more questions than answers, and that surely paves way for a better understanding of our main leads in the upcoming episodes.
The Blazing Unlikely Romance
Just because they are going through a phase of separation, doesn’t mean that their chemistry has lessened. Gao Shi De and Zhou Shi Yi are totally opposite and as such they are attracted to each other, despite the obvious repulsion. I’m sure even my neighbors next door, might have heard the tight slap that Gao Shi De received as his return gift. I have to appreciate the close camera shots that emphasize Shu Yi’s anger and Shi De’s guilt. Both are meeting after a long span of five years and despite Shu Yi’s vehement denial, his emotions are clearly on the surface. He hasn’t forgiven Shi De for his betrayal and knowing Shu Yi’s temper, we are in for a devastating ride!
I also enjoyed watching the contrast between the past and present version of our loveable couple. The show’s scriptwriters have done an excellent job at highlighting the plausible differences. Being in the beginning stages of their relationship, Shi De and Shu Yi were like every other couple. The romance was breezy and they simply existed in their own bubble. Their intimacy was sweet and the way they took turns taking care of each other, making promises for their dear future is enviable. Their present situation is however a sharp contrast to their flavored past. The sweetness has turned sour and the vibrant flavors have been replaced by anger and sadness. So while Shu Yi hides his real feelings behind the veneer of easy deception, Shi De is more earnest in his efforts. The poor guy will have to exercise control to win his unruly better half, who will vehemently calculate his moves and judge his every action.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the explosive sensual chemistry between Shi De and Shu Yi. It could be in those moments where Shu Yi tries to get a raise out of Shi De, by talking about the fake relationship with his non-existent girlfriend. Although he is testing Shi De’s limits, the way Shu Yi leans closer or sensually touches Shi De’s lips escalate the tension to a different level. Shu Yi isn’t entirely unaffected by Shi De’s presence and the low buzz of sexual undercurrents are overwhelmingly strong.
Their confrontation scene is even more interesting. Shu Yi’s “Let’s do it” is clear-cut invitation for sex. He is trying to corner Shi De and instigate him. Shu Yi obviously doesn’t trust him and I’m wondering why he never questions Shi De about “The Girlfriend and their Baby”. The root cause of their breakup was Shu Yi’s misunderstanding and instead of trying to figure out the situation, Shu Yi deigns to play a dangerous game. The only hiccup is that he doesn’t expect the possible backlash. They have been apart for five years and the show leans on projecting the pent-up sexual tension with close camera shots.
Shu Yi loves to act like a minx but it is obviously a deceptive act. He puts up a great performance trying to seduce Shi De which backfires when Shi De readily accepts his advances. Judging from his shocked expression, it’s clear that he wasn’t expecting this end result. I’m looking forward to watching the next episode, simply because I’m intrigued about Shu Yi’s intentions. How will he use his devilish brains to extract revenge? How will Shi De shield himself from the possible recuperation?
Intriguing Side Character’s and their Love Stories
I was really curious about this sudden change of dynamics between Shi Zhe Yu and Zhou Shu Yi. The past love rivals are now working together and although Zhe Yu is still salty about his loss, the character displays a more professional attitude. He is obviously more worried about the wear and tear of his Boss’s heart, rather than his old crush. I’m actually surprised by this development which could be attributed to his possible relationship with Shu Yi’s close friend, Liu Bing Wei. The prequel did a good job setting a precedent for this romance and although the first episode hinted at the same, we are yet to witness the evidence for the same. The only discernible differences are the easy smiles that Zhu Ye bestows over the attention seeking Bing Wei and I’m hoping this love story doesn’t get sidetracked. This couple is often color co-ordinated and I find that endearing. Atleast, we have got one couple who are still together and at peace with each other!
Yu Zhen Xuan on the other hand is an atypical character. It is obvious from his demeanor that he is suffering from mental illness but the details aren’t elaborated yet. Despite that as the CTO, he exercises strong control over his employees and remains unaffected by close quarter pressures. The ongoing feud between Shu Yi and Shi De clearly affects him, but that doesn’t stop him from voicing his honest opinions or questioning Shi De’s objectives. I’m looking forward to getting more in-depth information about this adorable yet intriguing character and his underlying romance with handsome Doctor Pei Shou Yi. There are too many variables at play and the teaser released by WeTV has piqued my curiosity. Will Zhen Xuan warm his way into Pei Shou’s heart with his innocence? I’m hoping for a “Happily Ever After” for this couple, since I can’t bear to watch Zhen Xuan shed bitter tears or experience the pain of separation.
The first episode managed to highlight the visible cracks in our main lead’s rather fragile relationship. This relationship has been damaged beyond repair and it will be a herculean task to piece them together. But knowing Gao Shi De’s stubborn nature and patient attitude, I’m sure it will be an enjoyable experience to watch these characters grow and become more mature versions of their older selves. Let’s hope that Shu Yi learns forgiveness and Shi De gains back the lost trust, because that’s the only way this relationship will survive!
Rating- 4 out of 5