To say that Love and Redemption is the surprise hit of late summer is most probably true. With the show’s great premise and fresh storyline, the stunning sets and costumes, and most importantly the amazing chemistry between Cheng Yi and Yuan Bingyan and the rest of the cast, it’s no wonder people can’t stop watching! But lately the show seems to find itself in a pickle as the story advances toward a direction some viewers find completely unsatisfying.
Like any drama adaptation, modifications in the original plot to suit the drama’s purposes are to be expected. And in most cases, it’s not a problem as long as the changes improve the plot for the better and not detract from it. For Love and Redemption however, as we move past the halfway mark and closer to the end, more and more viewers have said that the adjustments to the original story are “just too much”. And that it also feels like the writer is creating drama for drama’s sake by writing in too many misunderstandings.
Another thing fans of the novel have taken an issue against is how the writer is making everyone else appear stupid to make Sifeng’s character stand out more. They said that the script seems to be skewed towards Sifeng as the hero by “dumbing down” Xuanji’s character. You’ll see how Xuanji keeps accusing Sifeng of lying to her and asking him to explain himself when she’s actually quite smart in the book. Most of the “good” folks too including Xuanji’s sister Linglong and her dad were more sensible in the novel as opposed to how they are constantly harping on about Sifeng being the enemy.
Viewers have also pointed out that the story which should be about Xuanji’s growth seems to send a message that friends and family don’t mean anything as only love can save her. On the flip side, Sifeng’s sacrificial love is shown to be too angsty and his character simply too pitiful. Netizens actually kept tab of the number of times he spit blood, and the numbers ran up to 42 times in the 44 episodes that aired! Why in Episode 27 alone where the main couple cycle through 9 lifetimes, he spit blood 9 times!
Love and Redemption’s Screenwriter Responds
With so many unhappy fans threatening to stop watching, LaR’s writer Liu Fang later came out to explain her side of things. She said the novel did a great job in worldbuilding as well as developing personalities for the characters. However for it to be translated well to the small screens, there are kinks and gaps that need to be filled out.
With regards to Xuanji’s current situation, Liu Fang said that it’s all part of a planned progression for her character who’ll have lots of growing up to do. She will make mistakes but she’ll own up to them, learn from them and make things right. As for the confusion between demon and god identities, she said “Gods also have demons. Demons are not necessarily bad. People often have weaknesses. There is no high or low, only good and evil.” To further emphasise this point, Liu Fang closed her explanation by saying “In this story, both humans and demons are mere chess pieces, they are the victims of this battle. In the end, what we hope to achieve is to end the thousand year fight and return to the integration of the three realms. Identity does not mean anything. We’re only talking about good and evil.”