Fighting Mr.2nd was one of the most anticipated dramas of 2021 and the show has managed to win the audience’s hearts with it’s angsty storyline that either leaves equal parts frustrated and exasperated.
I lost my patience innumerable times, while watching my favorite characters play a horrible tug of war with their emotions. This is going to be a long rant, so gear up and be prepared for the ride. Like literally!
Enemies turned Friends
I’m constantly surprised by this slow change of dynamics between Zhou Shu Yi and Shi Zhe Yu. The love rivals turned friends are quite close, so much so that Shu Yi might act snarky with Zhe Yu, but he still shares his schemes and conspiracies with his so-called “Assistant”. It’s obvious that Zhe Yu is more than that and honestly, I find their friendship endearing. While Liu Bing Wei chooses his words carefully, Zhe Yu is more straight forward and reproachful. Their past history is long buried. Zhe Yu is now happily dating Bing Wei and as such is genuinely worried about Shu Yi’s emotional state. They have been working together for five years and have now grown closer. Zhe Yu will ever accept that he cares or worries about Shu Yi. Atleast that’s common trait between these two! As such, when Shu Yi shares his plan about “Breaking Shi De’s heart to make him feel the pain of betrayal”, Zhu Ye happily acquiesces and gives his nod of approval. At this point he is least bothered about his past crush (Shi De) and only wants the best for his Boss/Friend (Shu Yi). Unbeknownst to them, Shi De has been listening to their conversation. Imagine how painful it must be? To watch your loved one and your old friend as they conspire together to bring about your downfall. Utterly devastating!
The Close Knit Bond Between Cousins
Well that brings us to the next scene, where Shi De pours his heart in front of his cousin brother, Pei Shou Yi. As usual, Shou Yi doesn’t mince his words. Shi De is caught in a web of self-destruction and Shou Yi rightly points it out. Their close bond has a spark of chemistry and that might be the reason why most people (Shu Yi and Yu Zhen Xuan) repeatedly misunderstand their relationship. Really, Shi De is not to be blamed for that, because Shou Yi is just too touchy with his younger brother. I was actually intrigued by the sudden mention of the so-called “Promise”. Whom did Shi De promise and what was it about? Because it is obvious that he is weighed by that promise and is feeling suffocated. So, when Shou Yi calls him “Sick” for letting Shu Yi play with his emotions, Shi De accepts the same. But beneath that veneer, there is pain and also hope. Hatred is very strong emotion and Shi De is banking on it, because he fervently hopes that Shu Yi still loves him (even if it is a little bit). As long as Shu Yi feels something for him, Shi De will fight to turn the tide over!
The Final Showdown
I have read alot of comments and theories floating on the social media about this scene. Many of those are random posts about Shi De forcibly assaulting Shu Yi and frankly for most parts, it looks the same. But this entire sequence was filmed in a synchronized manner and both the main leads had to actually get drunk to get their emotions straight. The power packed performance wasn’t easily attained and that speaks volume about Sam Lin and Yu’s perseverance and acting talents. Shu Yi is getting ready to leave for his office when he finds a drunk Shi De sitting at his doorstep. Then Shi De drags him inside and they have this intense confrontation where Shi De pushes him roughly onto the sofa. Shi De is drunk and his emotions are all over the place. Shu Yi promptly fights back, but his resolve fails as soon as Shi De starts crying. He begs for forgiveness and accepts that he should have never gone to US. Seeing this broken down version of his once confident man, makes Shu Yi pause and reconsider his stance. Although he saw Shi De with his supposed girlfriend in the past, Shu Yi understands that something is grievously wrong.
“Do you know you are blessed? Do you know that you have always been protected?”
Shi De takes a moment to get over his high-strung emotions and these questions are the indirect explanations for the possible hindrance in their relationship. He is bound by a promise and as such cannot answer Shu Yi’s questions. There is a marked difference between the calm collected Shi De and this broken man, fighting his own emotions. Shu Yi’s indifference to his plight leads to another emotional outburst where they yet again tussle for dominance. The raw emotions, turmoil and vehemence stung my heart. Shi De was never good at expressing his base emotions and is used to hiding his true self behind a mask. That’s the reason he is drunk here, because it gives him the necessary courage to confront Shu Yi. Although the scene might seem demeaning, the way Shi De reverently touches Shu Yi’s face and then forcibly kisses him while exerting control matches his inner turmoil perfectly. Shu Yi on the other hand fights back but the fact remains that he isn’t unaffected. He still has strong feelings for Shi De and despite his rude demeanor, Shi De still means alot to him. So he acquiesces and they slowly ease into a long passionate kiss which is Shi De’s nonverbal approach of expressing his love and pain. It isn’t nonconsenual because Shu Yi kisses him back in the end. He knows that Shi De is hiding something. Both of them are hurt and are trying to find their way back to each other!
So next morning when Shu Yi’s Father suddenly turns up at his apartment and reproaches Shi De for breaking his promise, Shu Yi’s suspicions are confirmed. He knows something is up!
Dealings of the Past
We finally get a glimpse into the past and learn about the events that transpired. Shu Yi’s Father decided to be the roadblock in their relationship. He doesn’t approve of their relationship and like most misogynistic parents, he is afraid of societal pressures. Being in the limelight is disadvantageous because obviously Shu Yi’s life will be under scanner once he takes over his Father’s family. As such, his Father is taking requisite steps to clear the obstruction (Shi De) to his son’s bright future.
I really appreciated Shi De’s daring statements when faced with Daddy Dear’s reproachful attitude. Although he is at fault, Shi De isn’t ready to give up on Shu Yi. He values their relationship and doesn’t back down easily. That is until, Shu Yi’s Father strikes an odd deal with him. Actually it doesn’t sound like an offer, because clearly the clever businessman is stating his decree while Shi De is left with no choice.
Shu Yi and His Father’s Funny Relationship
Shu Yi’s Father seems like a hard core businessman hellbent on trying to mold his son’s “Perfect Life”. But five years down the line, things have changed. Although he took away Shu Yi’s choices, I’m guessing he is feeling guilty of his insensitive behavior. He clearly didn’t expect that Shu Yi would remain single and stay heartbroken for five years and Shi De’s sudden appearance spooks him. Firstly, because he knows well that Shu Yi still loves Shi De and is afraid of the recurring consequences. Secondly, he is unsure if Shu Yi would ever forgive him for meddling in his personal life. Obviously, Shu Yi loses his calm on learning about their “Deal” and has a mini outburst chronicling his Father’s bad decisions.
I was surprised when Shu Yi’s Father actually accepts his past mistakes and gives him time to clear his mind. Shu Yi is not a kid anymore and his Father is well acquainted with his hard-headed attitude. As such, Shu Yi’s Father retreats instead of ordering him around. His past self would have certainly not done that. But in the present circumstances, Shu Yi’s Father understands that he is at disadvantage. It was endearing to watch him repeatedly retrace his steps as he hopes that Shu Yi would stop him from leaving the house. Their relationship has changed quite abit in these five years and I’m guessing this will pave way to our sweet couple’s reconciliation later.
The Most Bizzare Yet Heartfelt Conversation Ever
After being thrown out of the house for their collective unruly decisions, future Father-in-law and Son-in-law relocated to a bar, to drown their sorrows in alcohol. Since both of them invariably hurt the one person they love the most, I guess it’s high time to reconsider their stance. Shu Yi’s Father still doesn’t approve of Shi De. Shu Yi’s Father can’t stand the fact that Shi De choose some random blonde over his son, who on the other hand is still stuck up over Shi De. Shi De finally grasps the gravity of the situation and this helps him understand Shu Yi’s apparent hatred for him. The fact that Shu Yi fought with his Father and even threatened to leave him is a shocking discovery and this explains Shu Yi’s present vehement attitude. This leads to happy realization and Shi De finally realizes his mistakes.
Making Amends for the Past Mistakes
As such, Shi De decides to make amends for his immature decisions. It is easier said than done. Shu Yi falls sick and that gives Shi De, the much desired chance to take care of his annoyed lover. Shi De accepts his faults and wants to earn Shu Yi’s forgiveness. After learning the entire truth, Shu Yi does see him in a new light, but the hurt is still there. While the second episode was solely concentrated on Shi De’s sufferings, the current episode highlighted Shu Yi’s faith and belief in their past relationship.
“You once said that not everything can be undone”
If Shi De had chosen to discuss these issues with Shu Yi, they would have been in a better place. Surely, Shu Yi’s Father won’t have accepted their relationship, but still Shu Yi would have stood beside Shi De, no matter the consequences. In the present scenario, Shu Yi bears the old wounds that Shi De callously dealt on his self-esteem and earning his forgiveness wouldn’t be an easy task. Communication is the key to most relationships and Shi De clearly failed at understanding that. This failure lead to an unwarranted separation of five years which put Shu Yi through insufferable pain. I’m looking forward to the next episodes simply because I want to see how Shi De earns back the lost trust. It will be difficult journey but nothing else is acceptable!
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