Guest Blogger: Snow Violet
University has kind of screwed up a lot of my drama-watching plans so it’s only now that I am able to write again. At least I was able to finish this one so I can write about it.
My Heroic Husband was an interesting one to say the least.
It is certainly funnier than the typical drama which has kind of become the trademark of the series.
In addition, the themes it portrays are thought-provoking.
We can expect a second season–actually no, we know there is a second season. With the way this drama ended, we know it’s coming.
I am particularly looking forward to it as we get this feeling that the story is just beginning.
In my first impressions post, I mentioned how the drama speaks about gender roles and how ancient societies were more inclined to be patriarchal.
It is not just that.
There is so much more that is mentioned in the drama: Familial relations, a strong partnership between lovers (aka. not just lovey dovey stuff) and house-husbandry.
The house husbandry theme was particularly outstanding.
We know Ning Yi is a matrilocal husband and he was sent to an academy for matrilocal husbands (yes…seriously) because he was caught visiting a brothel.
The guys at the academy were the most interesting dudes I have ever seen in a historical drama. They are all matrilocal husbands (except for one guy who wants to be one cause he failed the civil service exams too many times haha) with really good house-husbandry skills.
All of their wives are heavy-handed and strict which I would assume means they generally don’t appreciate their husband’s efforts.
Ning Yi puts these guys to work in helping him secure his wife’s (Su Tan’er) place in the family business and I won’t lie, I felt really proud of them finding their own and proving to their wives that they are worthy of some respect and appreciation.
Heck, even the head of the academy of matrilocal husband is a member of the imperial family by way of marriage to a princess (so a matrilocal husband himself haha).
He also has strong connections which kind of makes him somewhat untouchable I guess.
I was pretty impressed with the range of themes the drama was able to cover and with the comedy aspect, made the entire My Heroic Husband world more engaging.
The first 20 or so episodes were establishing our characters in the world of My Heroic Husband. The remaining episodes I noticed, was the story moving in earnest.
I would not say that the serious parts of the drama were unrelated because they ended up being connected in the end.
However, had it gone on for longer, I would have labelled it as ‘unrelated’. I somehow felt that the plot truly began after that arc but I can understand why viewers would be turned off by the sudden change in tone.
Even one of the Bandit higher ups needs a script and a prompter to show her dominance over people haha.
The Bandit arc (yes, I gave it a name) was rather surprising yet it exposed a lot of Ning Yi’s or at least Jiang Haochen’s moral compass. He got to know these people quite well to the point where he felt emotional when he had to betray them in the end. That was the push he needed to go beyond business and into politics.
It was hinted all along that he had a talent for navigating the political world but he always brushed it off because all he wanted to do was to support Su Tan’er.
When she finally got what she wanted and with her adversaries eliminated, there wasn’t much that Ning Yi could do now since Tan’er had successfully earned the respect of her family.
Hence I would say that the Bandit arc made sense and added a layer of complexity to an otherwise comedic drama.
Things Change Over Time
One theme that became prominent as the series progressed is the sense of change that occurs in character development.
The Su family, while initially opposed to Su Tan’er running her own store, actually unconditionally loves her (they are not all terrible people) which allowed them to change their minds over a woman’s ability to do business. She did end up receiving the Su family seal from Grandfather which probably made a lot of viewers proud of not only Su Tan’er but also the Su family for accepting her for her abilities.
The conniving uncle and cousin who thwarted the opening of her stores at the beginning eventually learnt their lessons the hard way and became literal stock comic characters for the rest of the series. Personally, that was the best character development I have ever seen because you would expect a villain to stay a villain.
The most surprising development was our main leads, Su Tan’er and Ning Yi. In the beginning, it was Ning Yi supporting Su Tan’er which allowed the two of them to form a strong partnership.
It is actually less romantic than I expected but I wasn’t too upset with it because their love for one another is there, just not so overt.
At the end of the series, Ning Yi decides to enter the political world and Su Tan’er hints at giving up her stores to her uncle and cousin to run in order to support Ning Yi.
Not because I was upset at Su Tan’er just letting go of her efforts.
It was because I wasn’t upset. It made sense.
Su Tan’er achieved what she wanted — obtaining the Su family seal.
She has already proven herself to be a shrewd businesswoman. Every non-familial character addresses her as Boss Su 苏老板 which indicates the level of respect people have for her.
Ning Yi on the other hand doesn’t have a goal to speak of until his encounter with the bandits.
I don’t think he still knows what he wants but he has decided to find his path. So the roles reverse and it’s now Su Tan’er who is going to support Ning Yi. Her cousin and uncle are already harmless so giving the stores to them wouldn’t be too damaging.
She is also the owner of the seal so she is technically their superior. If they mess up, she kicks their butts.
These changes in character development are rather poignant and it gives a premise for the next season to come. It’s exciting and I can’t wait to see what developments come after that.
Even though this drama is a romantic historical transmigration trope. It is anything but a stereotype. The plot is straightforward with enough complexity to engage. The characters are variable and develop as people. The themes are contemporary and relevant.
If I can gripe about something, it is the lack of romance. However, I am forgiving them because of the solid partnership between our main leads. The hints of romantic moments are just the icing on the cake to their general amiable relationship. If it stays like that, I wouldn’t mind too much but I would personally like to see more romance in the next season if possible haha.
I am genuinely looking forward to the next season because the story isn’t over. It is just beginning. It is a very clear conclusion with intent to continue.
I hope that we get to see more interesting moments with Ning Yi and the gang. It would be worth waiting for.
PS. I never read the novel so I’m not sure how different or similar the drama is to it. I may read the novel when I get the chance.
It would be a pretty good comparison project.