My Journey to You (2023) 云之羽
Summary: Wu Feng assassin Yun Wei Shan ft Esther Yu Shu Xin infiltrates the Gong residence when the Gong family selects a wife for the next clan leader, Gong Huan Yu. However, he is murdered and the originally ostracized Gong Zi Yu ft Zhang Ling He becomes the leader of the powerful Gong clan over night. Yun Wei Shan changes her target in order to secure her freedom
Total Episode Count: 24
Initial Airing Date: September 2, 2023
*Note – English translations may not match official translations
Final Rating 6.5/10: A highly anticipated historical spy romance drama embroiled in controversy. It is undoubtedly beautiful to look at but the slow pace, unimpressive male lead vs the second male lead and multiple plot holes reduced what could have been a brilliant show. My key takeaway? This could have been a movie instead.
Yun Wei Shan 云为衫
Yu Shu Xin 虞书欣
Assassin for Wu Feng and accepts her last assignment in exchange for her freedom
gong zi yu 宫子羽
zhang ling he 张凌赫
4th son of the Gong clan and son to the current leader. He is suddenly decreed leader after the death of his older brother and father.
gong shang jue 宫尚角
cheng lei 丞磊
2nd son of the Gong clan. Highly skilled, he missed his opportunity to be clan leader.
shang guan qian 上官浅
lu yu xiao 卢昱晓
A higher ranking assassin for Wu Feng who was also assigned to destroy the Gong clan. Marries Gong Shang Jue.
gong zi shang 宫紫商
jin jing 孟子义
Outgoing older sister in the Gong clan, she is adept at creating weapons. Obsessed with Jin Fan
jin fan 金繁
sun chen jun 孙晨竣
The powerful personal guard to Gong Zi Yu and puts up with Gong Zi Shang’s antics.
gong yuan zhi 宫远徵
tian jia rui 田嘉瑞
3rd son of the Gong Clan. He is skilled with medicine, poison and hidden weapons. Close with Gong Shang Jue
What Went Well
- Esther Yu’s portrayal- While I don’t currently think she’s an award winning actress, she definitely impressed me with her portrayal of Yun Wei Shan since it is a departure of her Xiao Lan Hua in Love Between Fairy and Devil. At least I see some range in her acting abilities and her enunciation was decent. Her character suffered from poor writing in the drama but she didn’t bring me out of the drama and held her own as the female lead.
- World Building – There’s mystery and intrigue around the assassin organization that is Wu Feng and then the powerful Gong Men (Gong clan). I quite thoroughly enjoyed being brought into this world where there are different levels of spies within Wu Feng and then learning about the various sects within the Gong Clan. While it’s not as thoroughly thought out as the classic wuxia novels, I think it does better than many other original dramas.
- Jin Jing’s Gong Zi Shang – Jin Jing is a fascinating actress. She has the ability to be extremely over the top and she certainly brings that energy to the drama but then at tender moments, Jin Jing also has the ability to make you empathize. Her character thread is my favorite in the drama and certainly the most entertaining. Gong Zi Shang’s platonic relationship with Hua Gong Zi and her romantic interest in Jin Fang are so fun!
- Beautifully shot drama – Regardless of your opinion of the costumes and makeup for the show, it cannot be denied that this is a visually stunning drama. From the bride selection scenes, to various fight scenes, I appreciate the focus on artistic detail. The director liked wide sweeping shots and you could tell great care was taken into creating them. I do view this as a movie quality drama from its cinematography perspective.
What were the issues
- Unimpressive male lead vs more competent second male lead – This was a coming of age story for Gong Zi Yu. He was pushed onto the top spot by accident and everyone thinks he’s not fit for the job. Issue is, you can’t disagree with that assessment. He’s shown as being very kind hearted but he is also portrayed as never having thought about mastering crafts or arts to help the Gong clan. For a large part of this show you have to question whether or not he’s capable enough, intelligent enough or skilled enough for the leader role. It’s hard to root for him. Additionally, the driving force for much of his actions is his attraction to Yun Wei Shan rather than duty to his clan. I have many issues with this relationship since it seems too convenient and forced. Bottom line, Gong Zi Yu is not shown as an intelligent, capable leader for much of the show. What’s worse is that Gong Zi Yu is compared to Gong Shang Jue who basically has all the skills required of the clan leader from the get go and is much more interesting. For most of this drama, I’m just thinking, why on earth isn’t Gong Shang Jue the clan leader? This drama would be done in 5 episodes!
- Mediocre spy craft – The main problem with this show is that it tries SO hard to be an interesting/smart spy thriller yet the tricks are paper thin. The various plots through the drama at first glance seem rather intriguing but if you just think a little harder, you’ll notice many plot holes. Otherwise, certain characters had their intelligence elevated or decreased to fit the needs of the plot. I had major qualms with the big final fight where I believe that many deaths could have been avoided if there were more competent script writers that could think through the stories more thoroughly.
- Slow paced – This drama is only 24 episodes long and sure those episodes were like 60 min long but even then I felt like this drama overstayed it’s welcome. A big contributor is not seeing Gong Zi Yu get himself together for MANY episodes so you can basically skip a bunch of episodes and won’t miss a thing. The first 10 episodes were good and then the last 4. The middle? Meh. I think this drama should have been a movie and it would have been a blockbuster if it was just 90-120 mins.