Justice in the Dark- A Homoerotic Awakening

Trust Youku to drop a bombshell in the middle of the Valentine’s month and leave avid fans bewildered!

Following Word of Honor’s unprecedented success in 2021, fans eagerly awaited the next lineup of Chinese BL adaptations- Immortality, Chasing the Light, Winner is King, Eternal Faith, Dreamcatcher, The Story of the Bat, In Darkness and Guardians of the Lands. Unfortunately, 2022 bought a heavy onslaught of regulations levied by the Chinese Censorship and as such, most productions took months to be reviewed. Surprisingly, 2023 seems to be the “Year of Chinese BLs”, but with a pinch of salt and loads of caution.

Seemingly out of nowhere (in January), WeTV dropped the promotions for their anticipated bromance “A League of Nobleman” followed by a hurried premiere. As against its normal pattern of releasing episodes, the schedule for A League of Nobleman was clipped short, and the show finished its run in three weeks. For some reason, the streaming portals are being overtly cautious about avoiding promotions or marketing, delivering the goods slyly. There were subsequent rumors floating around that the much anticipated dramas “Immortality” and “Winner is King” are scheduled to be released in March.

In the midst of all this confusion, Youku managed the impossible. Without any fair warning, Justice in the Dark premiered on 18th February, 2023. Adapted from popular author Priest’s novel, “The Silent Reading”, the show stars famous actors Zhang Xin Cheng and Fu Xin Bo in lead roles. Previously named “Abyss”, the show’s title was suddenly changed. Alongside the names of the main characters, Fei Du and Luo Wenzhou were changed to Pei Su and Luo Weizhou. These inconsistencies might seem like a fervent attempt to sideline any possible similarities to the original storyline, which is obviously BL themed. Considering the fanatic control implemented by the Chinese Censorship, the changes were possibly meant to appease them.

The Storyline

As against the original plot in the novel, the story is now set in a sci-fi-esque Xinyuan Civilization Year 253 where rising crime rate and its relation to “zero-degree empathy” have become a topic of interest. If you have read the book and were dreading the fact that the adaptation might be a watered-down version, you don’t need to be worry about that. Because despite the name change, the screenplay remains honest to its origins. Although the character names have been changed, the storyline still follows the cases as closely as they are mentioned in the novel. The adaptation is so similar to “The Silent Reading” that you will be pleasantly surprised and enthused.

The Acting and Chemistry

The intriguing factor in “The Silent Reading” is the emotional built up between the main couple, Fei Du and Luo Weizhou. Since the book is based on the trope of psychopathy, most investigations are constructed on the same. The novel closely follows Fei Du’s journey, who is considered as a rich heir with psychopathic tendencies. There is no mention of psychopaths in “Justice in the Dark” since the storyline focuses on genetically deviant “Apaths”. Pei Su is considered as an unemotional Apath. The first eight episodes paint a riveting picture of his past and present while presenting Pei Su as a clever individual who can be manipulative yet seems vulnerable. Zhang Xin Cheng perfectly portrays Pei Su’s shattered emotions and his varied traumas. He has a pleasant personality, attractive demeanor and yet he wears a mask of indifference. Now, Fu Xin Bo’s Luo Wei Zhao is slightly better than Luo Wenzhou. The portrayal seems different because his intellect is on par with Pei Su; so much so that at times, he leaves Pei Su shocked with his correct conjectures. Their interactions are interesting with a simmering tension that betrays the true nature of their relationship. Zhang Xin Cheng and Fu Xin Bo have a believable chemistry; quite comparable to Word of Honor’s Zhang Zhe Han and Gong Jun. If the latter rewrote history, then the former are redefining it. Starting from dialogue delivery to perfecting their character’s emotions, Zhang Xin Cheng and Fu Xin Bo deliver a flawless act. If you are an avid fan of the book, you will appreciate the recognizable similarities between the textbook version and the adaptation. Thankfully, the show has been reviewed and seems to have surpassed the corridors of the Censor Board without random cuts that tone down the romance between the main couple. It’s vivid, natural and enticing.

When Are The New Episodes Dropping

If you are an enthusiastic fan who is already done watching the first eight episodes which premiered on the Youku International App and are awaiting the release of the new episodes, then we got news for you. It has been more than ten days since the premiere and unverified speculations emerged, citing the abrupt cancellation of the show. We still don’t know which of them are true. In the midst of this turmoil, the show was reproached for portraying Blackpink’s Rose in a negative light. In one of the scenes, Luo Weizhou is shown photographs of women to choose from, when he pretends to be a customer currying sexual favors. Even though photoshopped, it is obvious that the girl resembles the popular Korean pop idol. The scene was deleted after enraged fans staged a protest on social media, Weibo. Justice in the Dark’s art team promptly deleted the scene and have issued an apology to the star.

We only have the following updates relative to the release of the next episodes:

As of now, the fate of this drama as well as the upcoming ones hangs in a delicate balance. If counterpoised, they might never see the limelight again!


One thought on “Justice in the Dark- A Homoerotic Awakening”

  1. Thanks, well written article. Hope, the next episodes will air at the latest after the conference. Would be a shame if it will be dropped.


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