Song Of Glory (2020) 锦绣南歌 Review
Republishing my review of The Song of Glory or 锦绣南歌. I was excited to see this drama as I am quite fond of 李沁 Li Qin. She is one of the younger actresses that I follow and enjoy seeing on screen. She was gorgeous in both 楚乔传 Princess Agents and 如懿传 RuYi’s Royal Love in the Palace. Her performances on reality tv shows such as Running Man reflect that she is a thoughtful and funny person. Here are my main thoughts on the drama.
Pros for this drama:
1. Main leads – The story revolves around Li Qin’s character, Shen3 Li2 Ge1 沈骊歌 and Liu2 Yi4 Kang1 刘义康. She is an orphan, raised as an assassin to kill Liu Yi Kang, who is the 4th prince during the Liu Song Dynasty. While many viewers say they don’t particularly like the male lead, Qin Hao, I thought he was more than adequate. He has more maturity that fits his role well. He is a bit on the older side so perhaps people think he and Li Qin don’t pair as well but I thought it was fine. These two had passable chemistry and were the highlights of each episode.
2. Historical setting – The setting doesn’t matter a WHOLE lot here other than the fact that it made me do research on what this dynasty is. This is not the well known Song dynasty that reigned from 960-1279AD ruled by the Zhao 赵 family. Instead, this Song dynasty reigned for a rather short period from 420-479AD ruled by the Liu 刘 family. This dynasty is part of the Northern and Southern Dynasties era of Chinese history. Not many dramas are set in this period because it’s messy and short. The various dynasties didn’t last very long and their stories not as notable as some of the other dynasties. Though, it seems, that after researching Liu Yi Kang’s life, he was not as benevolent as this drama portrays him to be.
3. Setting and Costumes – The sets and costumes for this drama were high quality. Li Qin’s assassin and dance outfits in particular are form fitting and well made.
(Some additional Pros in the Spoiler section below)
1. Story/Plot can drag – the first couple of episodes start off well enough. There’s suspense and intrigue into why or how this one official is enacting corrupt activities. The 2 main characters Shen Li Ge and Liu Yi Kang work together to solve mysteries albeit never knowing each other’s true identities. But after around episode 25, the story becomes convoluted and drags to watch.
2. Female hairstyles – when women are married in this drama, their hairstyles are…not as ideal. I’m watching them and thinking “was this historically accurate? If not, why make these styles? They are not attractive!”.
3. Plot holes and miracles that unfairly benefit the antagonist – essentially there were many scenes that I wanted to say “how is that possible!?”. How can a bad guy show up where she does without anyone noticing? She’s the daughter of a general. Shouldn’t she have restrictions?
4. Plot holes and miracles that allow the main characters to survive life threatening wounds – the main female lead gets injured numerous times throughout the drama. Unless it is to drive a sad farewell between her love, she generally gets saved by her friends and is bouncing around killing people or doing reconnaissance like her life threatening wounds never happened. Injuries that should have killed her or at least put her out of action for months are healed in, what seems to be, 24 hours.
Final thoughts: I thought this drama was…fine. It started off strong and ended on a weak note. The main leads were cute and there was never an issue with their faithfulness in the relationship which was refreshing but there were plentiful plot holes and inconsistencies that just make you want to bang your head against the wall. Some story lines dragged on or else didn’t make sense. Bad guys kept on coming back or stayed alive to add difficulty to the story. However, the high production value and quality acting from the acting team make this a passable drama to watch in the background.
PSA – DO NOT WATCH THE LAST EPISODE. Pretend the drama ends at episode 52 and that episode 53 doesn’t exist. You’ll thank me.
Overall Rating; 6/10
[Spoiler discussion! – Don’t read if you don’t want parts of the drama spoiled!]
Pros – Sibling Relationships – With most dramas where there is a throne at stake, brothers tend to turn against each other. This drama stayed away from that cliche and allowed the 2 main brothers, the 4th prince and the 6th prince, to trust each other. They worked together to bring about a change in government policies throughout the empire. It was heartwarming to see these two succeed.
Pro – the main wife of the 4th prince – She actually stays pretty pure throughout the drama. She cares for her husband and genuinely enjoys spending time with the main female lead, even though both of the share the same man and it’s clear he loves the main female lead, not her. She doesn’t display too much jealousy. She’s a saint for that.
Cons – Constant miscommunication – This drama is filled with instances where so many heartaches or issues could have been resolved if the people just talked to each other. In the beginning where the main female lead didn’t know the identity of the male lead, the male lead tried multiple times to tell her. Each time, she stopped him. The result? She stabs him not knowing his true identity… And that ending. Oh my gosh. This ending made my blood boil. The drama added unnecessary “drama” at the end of this show where the main couple could have just lived happily ever after. But no. The show writers just had to add a ridiculous star crossed lovers plot point. The main couple didn’t talk to each other whatsoever about what’s really happening in an effort to keep the other person happy and paid the price.
Cons – Unfair expectations of women’s roles – The main couple get together. She is a female assassin with limited decorum or training on how to behave at court. He is a prince. She marries him as a concubine and they are in love. That’s all well and good. But after they get married, he tells her she needs to stop being the woman who goes out fighting. She needs to stop being so course. She instead needs to stay at home, become a refined woman at court and be a good wife. While overall, he let’s her be, accepting that she isn’t a great cook and sees the immense value she add to his life by being a smart woman with insane martial arts skills, he was initially insistent. I know this is just a drama set in a historical time period, but it irks me nonetheless. He tried to change everything about her. Other dramas such as Nirvana in Fire or The Story of MingLan don’t portray relationships in this way. Perhaps just one of the reasons why those dramas are superior to this one.