Conspiracy of Love (谋爱上瘾) is a 2019 iQiyi web drama that began airing on August 12. It’s a revenge drama; the female lead Shu Bei lost her parents at a young age and enters Sheng Shi Group and gets close to its successor Sheng Jun for revenge.
Having watched several dramas in a row with innocent, kind-hearted female leads, I wanted something different and I’m seven episodes into Conspiracy of Love and enjoying it immensely. Although sometimes Shu Bei’s calculating actions make me cringe, I admire her craftiness and determination. I really hope she’s able to find some emotional closure for what happened in the past. I like her relationship with Sheng Jun because he’s not her target and they use each other, so it’s not unbalanced. Their bickering is very enjoyable. I also like that other characters are formidable opponents so it’s not like Shu Bei’s the only person who is scheming.
Sorry, there are no screencaps in this recap. Maybe for the next post though!
Episode 1-3 Recap
Shu Bei undergoes psychological treatment that allows her to remember the car accident that took her parents’ lives when she was a child. It seems that someone deliberately killed them. After she leaves, Dr. Ling, her psychologist, touches a scar behind his ear, and I’m sure we’ll understand this later.
The news that Sheng Shi Group is in the process of acquiring Jian Sheng Technology company, its first investment in 15 years, leaves Shu Bei shaken. Apparently, the two companies had been in talks 15 years ago as well but it did not come to fruition due to Chairman Luo Chang Sheng’s illness.
From a flashback, we see that Shu Bei has been undergoing the psychological treatment to remember the car accident so that she can confirm that Luo Cheng Sheng is the sole person responsible. It turns out he’s her uncle, and she wonders if she should seek revenge. Since Jian Sheng Technology is only hiring in the science/technology fields so there’s no way for her to enter the company to investigate—but she can enter Sheng Shi Group. After blackmailing a professor into getting a recommendation later, Shu Bei leaves college.
Shu Bei pays someone to steal her wallet to create an encounter with Sheng Jun, who she accuses of being a thief. After the misunderstanding is sorted out at the police station, Shang Ming takes pity on her being alone, homeless and penniless in a new city and brings her back to his apartment. (This is awfully trusting of him.)
Using her connection with a former classmate who works in HR at Sheng Shi Group, Shu Bei tries to get an interview in the investment management department. However, her classmate is by-the-book and tells her that her resume isn’t strong enough, seeing as she hasn’t even graduated from college. Shu Bei blackmails him with photos of him with a mistress. Not only does she get an interview but she also has him find out and tell her the interview format. She passes the interview.
Finding out that her classmate has no power in the next round of interviews with the investment management group’s higher-ups, Shu Bei goes to the Sheng Shi Group’s front desk asking to see Sheng Jun, dropping hints implying that she’s his girlfriend. The gossip-loving reception circulates this information within the company. Shu Bei tells Shang Ming her interview is with Sheng Shi Group and pretends to be surprised when he says that’s Sheng Jun’s company. She asks him for information on Sheng Jun’s likes and hobbies and uses that info to drop off some things for Sheng Jun at the front desk, cementing the gossip.
It turns out that the other final candidate for the position is the investment director Melinda’s younger sister. Having heard the gossip, the other higher-up in the department suggests that they accept both candidates. At Shu Bei’s final interview, Melinda is extremely rude to her but Shu Bei is offered a six month probational period. She counters with one month and accepts.
Shang Ming struggles with funding for the company he started, and Shu Bei reveals that she’s noticed he’s from a wealthy family from his clothing. She says he doesn’t have to struggle like this since he has family money, but Shang Ming wants to make it on his own. He turns the tables on her and replies that he knows she’s been using him for information on Sheng Jun and he’s let her stay at his apartment out of pity. Shu Bei immediately packs her things up and leaves. Shang Ming tries to sleep but can’t, and turns on the TV to find that there will be heavy rain overnight. He goes outside to find her but gets hit by a car while crossing the street.
At the hospital, when the doctor exits the surgery room and tells Shu Bei and Sheng Jun he tried his best, they assume he didn’t make it. Shang Ming laughs his head off when he hears the story. Aside from a broken leg, he seems okay. Shu Bei stays with him at the hospital. While she’s getting some air outside, she follows a suspicious person in towards Shang Ming’s room, recognizing him as the driver of the car. The suspicious person makes a run for it and Shu Bei follows him, only to find herself cornered outside in the dark. Luckily, Sheng Jun shows up and saves her. Afterwards, Shu Bei finds a note on the ground the suspicious person dropped. It says ‘revenge! revenge! Luo Chang Sheng, kill kill kill’.
After returning to Shang Ming’s apartment, the landlady pays them a visit. Shu Bei, having answered the door, discovers that Shang Ming owes several months of rent. The next day, Sheng Jun helps solve Shang Ming’s problems by showing up at his investor’s office and conveying his support for Shang Ming’s company. A few days afterward, Shang Ming’s mother shows up to bring him home.
On Shu Bei’s first day, Melinda tells her sister that she has a plan to get rid of Shu Bei. As soon as Shu Bei arrives on their floor, her former classmate who works in HR corners her. He has scratch marks all over his face and accuses her of stabbing him in the back. Shu Bei is stunned, and innocent for once, as a flashback shows that Melinda overheard Shu Bei blackmailing him. Melinda snuck into his office to take photos of the incriminating pictures with her phone. His enraged yelling draws a crowd and he raises his hand to hit her—but is stopped by Sheng Jun.
After clearing the crowd, he asks to speak to Shu Bei in his office. Shu Bei receives a call from Shang Ming informing her that he won’t be renting the apartment anymore since he’s going home. Sheng Jun tells her it’s a sign that she shouldn’t be at Sheng Shi Group. Shu Bei agrees but asks if he’s curious why she wanted to work at Sheng Shi Group. Sheng Jun can’t resist his curiosity so Shu Bei says she’ll tell him after he pinky swears. (I love it.) She tells him she wants to help with the acquisition of Jian Sheng Technology. Sheng Jun offers to let Shu Bei stay at his home in exchange for cooking and cleaning and she accepts. (Meh @ this cliched plot point.)
Reporting to Melinda, Shu Bei finds herself tasked with watering the plants. That night, she sneaks into Melinda’s office and steals the Jian Sheng Technology acquisition documents using several sneaky methods (a video camera in the plant to see the safe code, duplicating a key, etc). However, when she opens the files, she finds that they’re blank and realizes she was set up. A flashback shows that Melinda deliberately let her overhear to tempt her into stealing the files. She calls Shang Ming to apologize for not being able to accompany him to the hospital the next day and finds out that Sheng Jun’s father is deliberately keeping him from the Jian Sheng Technology acquisition.