Warning: minor spoilers for the drama below
The angst and tension-filled plot
Before We Get Married” hits it off with an explosive start, tempting viewers with a scandalous beginning. The will-they-won’t-they moments between Kehuan and Wei Wei deliver a high-intensity impact for viewers wondering if these two will cross the line in their romance.
Moreover, Kehuan’s developed interest in Wei Wei presents the basis for the angst. She gradually grows to disregard her relationship status, and she warms up to him upon noticing that he genuinely cares for her well-being. The tension heats up when Wei Wei’s mix of emotions finally push her to make a choice: continue with her planned future with Hao Yi (Steven Sun), or give in to the electrifying romance with Kehuan that shakes her to the core.
The awesome and supportive relationships
Han Kefei and Zhou Wei
One of the loveliest aspects of the drama belongs to Han Kefei (Phoebe Yuan) and Zhou Wei Wei’s friendship. Both of them have principles that set them far apart. Kefei steadfastly does what she desires no matter how society may judge her actions, and Wei Wei leans towards the most secure and logical choices over putting her emotions first.
In spite of their differences, Kefei has no qualms about taking the fall and being seen as a loose woman in order to protect Wei Wei. In return, Wei Wei also defends Kefei when she is maligned and shamed by others. This kind of ride-or-die friendship is a must-see and provides a healthy and simple portrayal of a relationship among all the complicated ones in the series.
Kefei’s scenes especially stand out because of how much she truly epitomizes a good friend. She supports her friend’s decisions but also makes Wei Wei confront what she does not want to admit about herself. Moments like these are the ones I end up anticipating the most because it’s equal parts touching and hilarious to watch these two deal with relationship and work issues together.
Gao Ziting and Gao Ziyuan
Gao Ziting remains a breath of fresh air in this drama as the one person who consistently has a logical and reasonable take on the situations at hand. She calls out Ziyuan’s manipulative behavior, tries to make her realize her own worth, and convinces Kehuan to stop Ziyuan (Nita Lei) from relying on him and his money to live.
This relationship stands out from the series mainly because Ziting unfailingly tries to negate Ziyuan’s plans in the hopes that she moves on and finds value in herself through her own merits. Her independence and firm ideals are what make her character so charming onscreen. Even though Ziting only appears from time to time she leaves an incredibly strong impression, and her straightforward and clear cut lines add a refreshing contrast to the frustrating and angsty scenes.
The complex relationship between the characters
While the biggest draw for viewers may be the steamy scenes between the leads, the plot also does a great job of unveiling the layers of each relationship and the complexities that come with them. Take for example Wei Wei’s relationship with Li Hao Yi. On the surface, this looks like an ordinary but ideal relationship — they have been dating for years, and both have equally contributed to their future plan to retire at 65. However, Hao Yi’s actions beg the question of whether he prioritizes Wei Wei, his future plans, or his work. At the same time, Wei Wei’s silence on what she has done with Kehuan also leaves Hao Yi clueless about her desperate measures to stabilize their relationship with marriage. What’s appreciative about the development of this couple is it allows viewers to have a closer look at who Wei Wei is as a person. It establishes the basis of her character and how she grows into someone with self-love and autonomy over her life.
Similarly, Kehuan and Ziyuan are a seemingly enviable match to outsiders. However, Kehuan seems trapped in a dead relationship that endures out of obligation rather than love. This relationship is the most frustrating to watch but also the most amusing. It makes one curious as to what new methods and antics Ziyuan has in store to win him back and what exactly led to the demise of their relationships.
Comparing the two relationships provides some insight as to why Kehuan might feel so strongly about Wei Wei. In a way, both follow through the motions of their partners’ desires, only Kehuan is miserable while Wei Wei sees her compliance to Hao Yi’s laid-out life plan as her investing into their future together. Kehuan’s attempts to break Wei Wei free from her mindset about the equality of her partnership could stem from his own experience of feeling confined. It also unexpectedly changes the initial perceptions of Kehuan’s shallow feelings for Wei Wei and showcases the thoughtful aspect of the writing in presenting characters with dimension.
The fact that Kehuan and Wei Wei’s respective relationships have issues prior to their meeting is a good detail to unravel. It doesn’t mean the series tries to assert that Kehuan and Wei Wei make the right choice when it comes to following their attraction to each other. In fact, the show acknowledges the stigma through Wei Wei’s inner turmoil and the steps she takes to give her relationship a fighting chance. It is also made more apparent through the portrayal of multiple flawed characters who struggle to make moral choices when faced with the realities that they do not want to accept.
Moreso, it illustrates that only through their encounter do they realize they have to face themselves and really take a look at who they are with. For Kehuan and Wei Wei, their entrance into each other’s lives acts as a catalyst that opens her eyes to how little her voice mattered to Hao Yi and forces Kehuan to realize that he just needed the courage to stop holding on to his unhappiness. My initial impression of this show was that it was simply a show about an affair, but the added complexities of the characters and their relationships reveal the intricacies and deeper meaning this drama possesses.
Even though the show may have advertised itself in a way that indicated it was glamorizing an affair, it settles into another direction as the plot thickens. Wei Wei and Kehuan may be the protagonists of the story, but they certainly do not make the most righteous choices. Subsequently, it provokes viewers to contemplate and discuss the morality of these people and the circumstances thrown at them. Ultimately, as Wei Wei faces the problems with Hao Yi and her own cowardice, the center of the show seems to reveal its true intentions. It identifies itself not in whether Kehuan and Wei Wei get together, but if these flawed characters can overcome their inner conflicts and find a place to be themselves.