Eternal Love (三生三世十里桃花) aka Three Lives Three Words Ten Miles of Peach Blossom aka San Sheng San Shi Shi Li Tao Hua does cliché like nobody’s business. Amnesia, missing body parts, deaths, resurrections? That’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The lovey dovey pillow talks? That’s dessert with extra whip cream on top. I love every moment of it.
To say nothing about the show’s just-the-right-level melodrama, it impressed me with how well they use the special effects, costumes and makeups to create their epic universe. Those elements successfully enhanced the show instead of crippling it as they did with many of its fantasy drama peers (I am looking at you, xxx Aspiration and xxx Flower). It’s a pity they can’t maintain movie quality level for all 58 episodes. I can clearly see where they spent the big bucks and where they skimped out. The difference is a bit jarring.
Good thing the show is so good I can overlook their inability to seamlessly merge high tech with low tech effects. This drama’s world makes sense. There is internal logic to explain the outrageous things they do (finally in a Chinese fantasy drama!) And most importantly, I am 100% invested in the main couple and their many reincarnations.
Ye Hua’s behavior toward Bai Qian reminds me of a poem by Margaret Atwood: I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.
I love Ye Hua to pieces but I blame him for most of the crapazoid things that befall on them. He is a great man. A man of few words. A man who really needs to stop sheltering his wife and keeping vital information from her. If only he had talked to her about the things that was going on around them, she wouldn’t have broken his heart the way she did.
The show does a good job of using Chinese mythology as backdrop for Ye Hua and Bai Qian’s love story. Ye Hua is a dragon of Sky Kingdom. Bai Qian is a nine-tail fox of Azure Hill. Both are born deities, which means they didn’t have to do any hard work, like ascension, to become immortals. But being born immortals doesn’t guarantee they can live forever because universe demands balance. Since they bypassed the hard stuffs, they had to go through life and death calamities to make up for it. If they live through them, they move up the deity rank. (Even when you are immortal, you can’t escape class discrimination.) If they don’t, they cease to exist. And calamity is an integral part of their story because Ye Hua is Bai Qian’s calamity.
Story starts with teenage Bai Qian being schooled in Kunlunxu, where she apprenticed under Mo Yuan, the god of war. Although he knew she wasn’t a real boy and her real name wasn’t Si Yin, he took her in anyway. The little fox got potential. He was all kind of nice to her. He even endured her first calamity for her: Being strike three times by lightning. She became a higher level deity without paying any price. Lucky her.
Granted, her master died in the war between Sky Kingdom and Ghost Kingdom, and it was not entirely the man’s fault, but he helped, so he was guilty by association. But what really marked him down as her enemy for life was his refusal to lend her the Jade of Soul the could preserve her master’s body for resurrection. This was after she had laid down her dignity and her thirst for vengeance to beg him.
Seething of fury and grief, she brought her master to Azure Hill where she fed him blood from her heart for 70,000 years (yep, the number is a bit mind boggling) as she awaited his reawakening. Apparently, nine-tail fox’s heart’s blood can prevent a body from decomposition, among other things.
Her low key existence came to an end when she emerged from her seclusion to reseal the Ghost Lord under the dome for another 70K years. She didn’t die in the fight but he managed to seal her power and turn her into a mortal with no knowledge of who she was. In her mortal form, she met the love of her life whose world crushed her spirit so completely that she rather die than to face another day.