03 April 2014

回到愛以前 Déjà Vu

Title: 回到愛以前 Huí Dào Ài Yǐqián
English Title:
  • Déjà Vu
  • Return to a Past Love
Country: Taiwan, R.O.C.
Language: Mandarin Chinese
Year: 2013
Episode: 22
  • 魏蔓 Wèi Màn (Mandy Wei)
  • 姚元浩 Yáo Yuán Hào
  • 王思平 Wáng Sī Píng (Jenna Wang)
  • 許騰方 Xǔ Téng Fāng (Paul Hsu)
  • 陳乃榮 Chén Nǎi Róng (Nylon Chen)
  • 王家梁 Wáng Jiā Liáng (Edison Wang)
  • 張熙恩 Zhāng Xī Ēn (Seanna Chang)

王大文 Wáng Dà Wén - 美麗 Měilì (Beautiful)
Feeling dejected after she failed her ballet company audition, Xu Hai Lin goes for a walk and chances upon a cultural exhibit. While she is looking at the displayed artworks, there's an explosion followed by a fire. Although everyone in the venue evacuates the area soon after, Hai Lin notices that a guy she bumped into at the exhibition hall is missing from the crowd, and she goes back inside to find him.

Lu Xi Wei organized the art exhibit on behalf of his company, and he was instructed by a colleague to get a handwritten scroll that was on display. He was injured as he was trying to acquire the scroll and passes out. Hai Lin rescues him, accompanies him in the ambulance, and watches over him at the hospital.

Hai Lin and Xi Wei get to know each other while dating, and they have been together for around five years. Xi Wei proposes to her when he finds out that she's pregnant, and they plan to married soon.

They are involved in a car accident where Xi Wei dies and Hai Lin loses their baby. Although she pretends she's fine afterwards, Hai Lin cannot eat or sleep.

Hai Lin tries to commit suicide, when she encounters the Time Holder who gives her an opportunity to go back to a specific point in her past in exchange for the most important thing to her. Hai Lin chooses to go back to the time before she met Xi Wei and before they fell in love.

Déjà Vu has a great first episode, save for the last few minutes, because everything was on fast-forward; the lead characters met, they dated, and then they are even happily planning for their future.

Although what happened in this drama's first episode is what usually happens in most romantic comedy productions, it is just an introduction in this case because Déjà Vu is about Xu Hai Lin going back to the past, and actively choosing to live a different life to the one she had lived before.

I was already not looking forward to the melodrama, and my anticipation for what happens next is further hampered by the fact that the set-up wasn't clear at all. I can accept that Hai Lin was given the incredible opportunity to time travel at face value, but I do not get everything else.

Why did Hai Lin choose to go back to the day she met Xi Wei, and why did she choose to live a life where she's not with him? How did she know that she or their relationship brought about Xi Wei's death in Christmas Eve 2013?

The sage who allowed Hai Lin to go back to the past was not particularly helpful. His opening dialogue is something to ponder, and his second line is equally thoughtful, but both lines do not make any sense when taken together in context.

Sage: The length of time is measured by time, whereas the value of life is measured by contribution.
Sage: Seeking happiness through materialistic consumption is the ultimate sorrow of life.

The story's development added to my confusion, and ensured my emotional detachment to all the tragedy that happened onscreen; which is quite a lot, I tell you. There were at least three traffic accidents where one lead character dies, and the other lead character sacrifices something precious in order to alter the reality. One or the other character relives a few years of his life all over again, with no idea whatsoever of his previous life; whereas one or the other character goes through the same experience with all his memories intact.

What's really tragic though, in my opinion, is that I don't know what it all means at the end of it all.

回到愛以前 Déjà Vu