The latest and newest 6 episodes have definitely cemented my newfound fervour for this drama and for young Toby who plays Xiao Song. I'm even warming up to Zhou Jie Song who is the titular character. I've gone a bit fanatical and watched the last 6 at least twice already. For some unknown reason it just hits all the right notes with me.
It's not perfect of course. Editing continues to be a problem in C dramas although this is certainly not the worst I've experience. But the OST is actually reasonably good.
I've come to realise in the last couple of years of watching C dramas that often the gems are really to be found amongst those that feature lesser or unknown actors. Maybe it behooves the production team to rely less on star power and more on the writing and storytelling to do the heavy lifting. It's not as if the lesser known actors are talentless either but they're not the primary drawcard I expect.
I don't usually have a problem coming up with the "who" of the whodunnits here but I enjoy finding out the "whys" and the "whats". I'm also somewhat amused that they even managed to insert a serial killing case into the mix anachronistically explained with modern profiling tools.
I refer specifically to the third case that seems to be tied to a traditional Snow Witch folklore.
Because our leads are adamant that there are no supernatural elements involved in this case, we can certainly expect a Scooby Doo outcome at the end of it all. Here our killer or killers seem to have a deep-seated psychological hatred for men and women who are having extra-marital affairs.
As for the progression of the main romance, I'm largely content with how things are progressing. It's probably less common that the FL doesn't fall head over heels with the ML first but it isn't something that never happens either . As someone who isn't normally enamoured with love triangles, this one is actually tolerable and surprisingly well-integrated into the storyline. It doesn't come across as some unnecessary appendage for the most part. It also makes sense why Ran Yan isn't head over heels with Xiao Song because with their respective personalities, they're bound to clash hard at the start. He wants something from her, she drives a hard bargain so he pushes her buttons to make her give in, she does grudgingly. All the makings of a beautiful romance.
Truth be told, she didn't learn to be a coroner just to sit around and twiddle her thumbs. So he understands something about her that she doesn't realise about herself. Still Su Fu is her knight in shining armour future fiance with a sob story so the lonely girl in her is swept off her feet.
Of course I'm not a fan of the screechy step-sister (who could be) who has her eye on Xiao Song as potential husband material. She may have succeeded in getting her hooks into him but Ran Yan's efforts to trigger her is always a guaranteed laugh. Humour also comes from Cui Sang, the genius scholar that's crushing on RY. His plan of being stuck with her in the forest came to naught. Not a contender for suitor, I don't think.
Of course there's the banter between the leads that brightens up the bleakness around them... although lately he seems less inclined because his feelings for her have undoubtedly changed. Their nicknames for each other may have started as teasing and mutual insult but it's gradually becoming more about endearment and intimacy.
One of the surprising things is that Xiao Song confesses so early and then retracts by saying that he tricked her. Avoiding a loss of face? I don't think so. I suppose he did it partly to test the waters and he thinks he knows that RY is in love with SF... at least it's the obvious conclusion to come to. So he retreats. I doubt he's given up completely. Not that he really can if he's drawn to her like a moth to a flame.
It is telling that both men are not properly understood by RY. Given her background and age, it's not surprising. She has an anti-authoritarian streak from being mistreated by her own family so there's a prejudice there and she presumes that what you see is what you get. I also think that she doesn't quite know who she is or what she wants. Although she claims that the Merman puts her in jeopardy, the reality is that she relishes risk-taking. That he knows all too well. Why else would she deal in corpses and go after leads? She's never played it safe even as a child so why start now?
Despite how the odds are stacked against him right now, I still root for Xiao Song to get the girl. Ultimately he's a brilliant nerd that wants to play detective and she's a good fit for him. The other half, in fact.
While he may toy with her at times, he cares for her much more than she realises. Given time, I think she will realise fully that he is someone she can't do without, given his passion and hers.