Chinese Name: 御姐归来
Quick Summary: Ai Mi Er (Ady An) is the sole heir to EMT Group. When her father tries to force her to marry as a business alliance, Ai Mi Er runs away to search for the ex-boyfriend who disappeared without a word several years ago and unknowingly ends up working for the younger brother (Zhu Yi Long) of her intended fiance.
Stream It: haven’t seen this with English subs anywhere
Recommendation: Watch it until episode 27
**Don’t worry, spoilers will be clearly marked.**
The 2009 Taiwanese drama Autumn’s Concerto starring Ady An and Van Ness Wu is one of my all-time favorites. Ady An was fantastic in that drama, and I’ve always hoped that she would do another modern drama so I was really excited when I heard about Royal Sister Returns. I couldn’t find it with English subtitles anywhere so I gave up and just watched it without subs.
Royal Sister Returns starts off very promisingly – sure, you have some over-the-top dramatic elements (for example, Ai Mi Er’s security detail) and some terribly annoying characters (the villains), but it’s a Chinese drama. That’s to be expected. The great thing was that both lead characters, Ai Mi Er and He Kai Xin (does anyone really name their child this?!), are both likable and funny, especially together. He Kai Xin’s friends are also absolutely hilarious. Even though I found He Yi Kun and Qing Qing’s storyline boring, I still appreciated it. However, ultimately Royal Sister Returns is ruined by a series of utterly ridiculous and cliched plot lines. I wish the drama had resolved and ended after episode 27. The final episode was especially awful.
Also, I just realized that the actress who plays Qing Qing was Su Jin in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms (aka Eternal Love). And the actor who plays Fang Ge was Manager Bai from Ode to Joy?
The first ~14 episodes were great. The build-up to Peter and Ai Mi Er finally seeing each other again was a little drawn out, but worth it. I loved that Ai Mi Er pursued her dream of being a fashion designer, and Peter stealing her designs was a turn I didn’t see coming – but it was perfect! You knew right then that he would never redeem himself. After that, the Yi Kun and Kai Xin being brothers reveal was just as dramatic a moment. I hated Kai Xin’s reaction, being so petty and mean-spirited. I thought he was better than that! I understand that he was hurt, but she was clearly just as shocked as he was. To not even give her a chance to explain?!
The bitter grudge/hate that Ai Mi Er’s “father” had for the He family was an understandable storyline. I can even accept the kidnapping. What I can’t accept is AMNESIA. NO. I hate amnesia storylines with a passion, especially when the amnesia occurs right when things are finally going to be happy and good for the lead couple. (Meteor Garden 2, I’m looking at you!) How convenient that he forgets her completely. Also, when he recovers his memory, it was so miraculous that I didn’t believe it. I kept thinking the twist was that he was just pretending to remember because he felt bad for her.
Hu Na was by far my least favorite character. Peter was pathetic, but Hu Na was selfish and deluded, and her obsession with Kai Xin was out of control. They had one brief interaction! But I guess as a spoiled rich girl who’s used to getting what she wants, she had to have him. Since I skipped episodes 28-32 I am uncertain whether she redeemed herself in those episodes, but I just cannot accept the final episode. Has she learned nothing?! Why was her character granted this sympathetic storyline? What did Ai Mi Er do in a past life to deserve this? That ending was truly terrible and ridiculous. Sure, it’s sweet that Ai Mi Er and Kai Xin will always find each other again at that fountain, but STILL. AT WHAT COST. I want to erase that ending from my memory.
I leave you instead with this lovely moment: