Ambition? Check. Brilliance? Check. Confidence, Determination, Enthusiasm? Check, check, check. Fashionable, Gracious, Humorous, Imaginable, Joyous, Keen? All check. But Love?
At the age of 33, (precisely, 32 and 6 months-old,) Shan Wu Shuang is still single and always ready to mingle. She has aced everything in life and made herself a living proof of “survival of the fittest”, except, she inevitably flunked the Darwinian chapter in sexual selection. That means, (in the Darwinian and the writers’ perspective) she cannot claim herself successful, despite financial independency and literacy.
Well, it’s not entirely her fault. Whoever gave her the name is there to blame. Shan Wu Shuang sounds like a great name. Wu Shuang, meaning “unique” and “different”, obviously gave her a head start in life that she was able to work herself to the top of the (hopefully) top magazine, iFound. And different she is indeed. When all the girls in town have been happily married, her love life is still stagnant like the blinking cursor on a blank page, helpless and infuriating. But Shan Wu Shuang (單無雙/单无双) is not a great name. Shan, when not as a surname is pronounced as Dan, which means single. (Aha!) Wu Shuang, aside from the meaning discussed earlier, of course means “not a pair”. So either way, curse the name, she’s doomed to be alone. 😀
Today is Christmas Eve, Shan Wu Shuang the Workaholic drags the rookie Rookie to her high school of 15 years ago for the next day’s headline. The rumor is that Ke You Zheng the popular politician to-be-elected has an underground relationship with one of the teachers at the school during his principle years. They even had an illegitimate daughter together. The politician has been campaigning for the election and is scheduled to attend a comeback Christmas party at the school as an honorable guest. The event is, in actuality, a disguise for Ke to visit the daughter.
Wu Shuang puts on her school uniform and sneaks into campus for the exclusive. She and Rookie succeeded in finding the politician and took pictures of both Ke You Zheng hugging his daughter and giving her a pair of shoes as Christmas present — but, with a little price to pay.
They were discovered by a 30-year-old (why must age be the focal of this drama?) custodian-looking personnel whose precise occupation remains obscure. The 30-year-old chases them out of the tree and allllllllllll the way to the school gate. Time is slipping fast. A second wasted is a second closer to Christmas deadline. So while Rookie keeps the school personnel occupied, Wu Shuang runs back to workplace with the memory card.
Wu Shuang not only lacks luck with men, she isn’t too great with hitchhiking a ride OR hailing a cab either. It’s getting dark and with an impossible amount of mileage still to cover, Wu Shuang throws two one-thousand bills at a Santa and a group of kids and rides away the ribboned bicycle resting on the side.
This bicycle is no ordinary bicycle. It’s the Christmas present for one of the boys in the group. With the surprise of a sneaky thief popping out of nowhere and stealing his present, even a tough little boy can’t resist but to break into tears. So the Santa, not knowing how to coo a crying boy, feels obliged to chase the bike thief and retrieve the present for the kid.
With the aid of someone else’s bicycle, Wu Shuang arrives at the meeting in time and presents her discovery. She not only receives appraisal from her boss, the promise of becoming the next executive editor — a position she and her biggest competitor Romeo (top left) have been actively competing for — her exclusive is like an invisible hand that slaps Romeo hard across the face and sends him putrefying in the corner with green jealousy.
Wu Shuang gets to work, busying everybody else with her. When employees ask to leave early to spend the holiday with their significant other, Wu Shuang bursts a vein. Then she recomposes herself, wishes the inquirer a happy holiday and adds, meanly, that there are tons of people in the market waiting to replace the employee’s current position. (Hah!)
Her bitterness doesn’t end here. The Santa, namely a twenty-something guy called Lucas, who earns a living by working miscellaneous jobs, brought the children with him to Wu Shuang’s work place for the bike. Her nonchalant attitude toward her thievery irks Lucas into a long preaching.
He tells her, “Madame, do you understand a child’s hopeful expectation for the present at the end of a year? … Ma’am, you’re old (Stepping on mine right there) enough to know that taking without consent is called stealing or robbery.” Wu Shuang snaps at the mention of her being old (old enough) and retorts, “I’ll do whatever I want. Let me tell you this, there are many things more important than Christmas presents! They’re too young to understand.” (Like spending time with family and not working 24-7.) “Then do you know,” Lucas combats, “that there are many things that once missed, cannot be regained? It’d be too late when they grow up and realize it, they’d have lost that innocence already!” Feeling defiant, Wu Shuang raises her voice, “The earlier the better, so they wouldn’t have high expectation and only be crushed by disappointment!” She ventures on to brag about how grand her work is and how she contributes to society. (More like how she can easily ruin a person’s reputation and how powerful gossip serves to destroy a career. Ironically she is later victimized by gossip herself.) Becoming more and more disputatious, Lucas questions, “Is your work important for the society or is it important to you?” Wu Shuang rolls her eyes and Lucas continues, “Today is Christmas Eve, if you want to be like 7-11 and work all year round, that’s your problem. But why project your wrath on the children?” Then Lucus says something that puts Wu Shuang on the defensive,
A person like you, who knows only work and promotion must have no life, no friends. With attitude like yours, I’m willing to bet that there are tons of people out there waiting to see you falter.
The truth is like a needle that stabs right into Wu Shuang. She pushes Lucas away, bends down with a smile and crushes the children’s belief in Santa. (They should all watch Polar Express and sing Josh Groban’s ” Believe” and be happy!) Then with a, “Kids, grow up. The world is a cruel place,” she pushes through the crowd and returns to her office. “What do you do that for? These kids are orphans, they’ve been waiting a whole year for Christmas!” Lucas calls after, but the damage is done.
If it weren’t for the unpleasant event, Lucas would never have met this glassed beauty. However fleeting their meeting was, Lucas has made a deep impression on the girl. (Love Entanglement speaks!)
Although sour as an apple, even the strongest, most capable woman is not exempt from the double sided dagger of gossip. Being called a Megatron, a Man in a Skirt, and a heartless/pitiless bitch still hurts, even if she denies it, even if she tells herself it’s no big deal, she is still the Queen. Yet on the way back home, all she sees are cruel reminders of how alone she feels — happy couples, holden hands, roses, and sultry glances.
What then? She grows irritable, almost angry at the world for being so happy while she, so miserable and so lonely. But her pride keeps her head tall. She calls her best friend Lu Guang Lin and stays with Guang Lin and her husband, who isn’t too thrilled with her arrival. (By who, I mean Guang Lin’s husband.) Still sulking, Wu Shuang lashes out biting sarcasm at the couple from time to time. Guang’s husband gives Wu Shuang a dirty look and says nothing. When Guang Lin leaves temporarily, the husband tells Wu Shuang, “You were wondering why Guang Lin married a man like me. (Poor and not exactly good looking.) It’s because she doesn’t want to be like you, a selfish inconsiderate old maid with no one to come home to, no one to share happiness with, and no one to cry to…. You can pick fault in me, but I can promise you one thing, if Guang Lin were to cry, I would be there for her.” No longer feeling self-righteous, Wu Shuang replies, “Why would Guang Lin cry? If she were to cry, it’d be because of you.” (敗犬/败犬, which, translated literally: Defeated Dog, is such an accurate term. She does bite and she bites pretty darn hard.)
Lucas is cast out by his landlord on Christmas Eve for not paying three month worth of rent. Needing a place to stay, he moves into his rich, lollipop-lovin’ best friend’s apartment, which happens to be next to Wu Shuang. (Because, according to the Golden Rule of Romance, if they aren’t living next door to each other, they can’t fall in love.)
Speaking of love, each of the main characters have their own failed relationship. Shan Wu Shuang wasn’t so hard to get along before. She had a boyfriend researching organisms in the North Pole, whose name, is possibly Yun Hao. (Her fish, which died towards the end of the episode is called Yun Hao #5. Presumably, it’s the fifth fish she’s had and she most likely named it after the ex-boyfriend she could not get over.) He obviously broke her heart and scarred her for life. To protect herself, she turned inward and put on a mean face. But after pretending to be strong for so long, she has inevitably turned into this cranky maid today.
Locus has a different sort of relationship failure. A more… philosophical one. His ex, Han Xiang Yun, gave him a pot of … plant. She told him that this particular species of “flower” (as she calls it) blooms twice, the second time immediately following the first. His job was to take care of the flower and when the flower blossoms for the second time, he’ll have understood her. Since she left, he has been taking care of this plant like his child and yet it has never flowered once…
At work the next day, the exclusive has caused the magazine sales to sky rocket. Wu Shuang is no doubt the biggest star, if not the Only star. The boss is pleased with the result and decides to take all his employees to dinner. Romeo and his fellow colleagues come up with a ploy aimed to humiliate Wu Shuang at the party. Who’s to do the job? Lucas, of course.
ARGH, where did the classiness go? WHERE? TW dramas just can’t break out of that rowdy, silly mold. *facepalm*
It’s so predictable that before the first preview even came out, I had vouched the basic character traits of Shan Wu Shuang by the sound of the title. (I don’t mean it in a conceited, haha-I’m-so-smart way, it’s more like “O PLEASE, be a little creative!”) Speaking of the English title, it has been changed from Defeated Queen to My Queen, which sounds SO much better and appealing.
I don’t think I will be recapping this drama. Maybe when I’m procrastinating and feelin’ like going through the motion of writing a recap, I will recap an arbitrary episode. No promises and certainly not the next episode (the preview turns my stomach in an unflattering way).