Taiwanese Drama: Iron Ladies (姊的時代)
Total Episodes: 20
Leads: Aviis Zhong & Ben Wu
Short episode summaries:
Episode one: (I have no plans on doing recaps on Iron Ladies but I was really itching to write one for the first three episodes so…)
The marketing director of Love U shopping website that focuses on women’s cosmetic products, our heroine, Zhou Kai Ting has always believed in never giving up especially when it comes to her professional life. Engaged to her boyfriend of eight years, Kai Ting is quite satisfied her love life is traveling right on the path she has planned for herself…even if her conversations with her fiancee sounds more like business meetings. Jumping right into her crisis solving mode when an employee accidentally spilt a box of eyeshadows right before their big presentation is suppose to start in ten minutes, Kai Ting refuses a young man’s offer to help…until he surprises her with his impressive ability to discern minute color differences and helps her put back the eyeshadows to their proper place. Equally impressed with Kai Ting after watching her stubborn insistence to not give up until she solves a crisis no matter what it takes, our hero, Su Can also walk away from that first meeting with a deep impression of our heroine.
Trusting the promise of a long time neighbor friend, Su Can’s grandmother had invested all her retirement with the friend believing her grandson will be guaranteed a good job in the big city. Coming up to the big city relying on the neighbor friend’s promise, Su Can is dismayed that the address he has been given is actually occupied by our heroine’s cosmetic company and his friend is nowhere to be found. Trying to be optimistic despite the sinking feeling that he and his grandmother probably will never see the neighbor friend or their money ever again, Su Can decide to not give up for the time being.
Amazed when she sees a talented young man painting on the street and realizes it is the same young man that had helped her earlier that day, Kai Ting ends up sharing dinner with Su Can and getting to know him better.
Confronted with yet another crisis when a famous makeup artist that she had promised all her shoppers suddenly cancels on her hours before a fan meeting, Kai Ting refuses to give up as always but this time she is really at wit’s end. Busy hitting her head against the wall as she mutters “Think of something! They are all waiting for you! Think!” Kai Ting opens her eye in shock when a hand suddenly catches her head before it hits the wall again. Embarrassed when Su Can sheepishly explain that he is there to deliver coffee but ended up with his shirt torn so that’s why he is in the storage room to change his shirt, Kai Ting is about to leave until she remembers Su Can’s talent with color and realizes he could be the answer to her problem.
Not buying Kai Ting’s “gut instinct” that a young man with absolutely no makeup experience could replace an internationally famous makeup artist, Kai Ting’s two best friends (who also work as managers in the same company but different departments) refuses to let Kai Ting make such a daring move. (One of my favorite line here is when Kai Ting yells “If something goes wrong then I will take responsibility.” and her best friend Marisa yells back “That’s what I don’t want! Why are you always taking responsibility by yourself! If you have to take responsibility then I will take it with you!” Wow, talk about best friends.)
Seeing no way to convince her friends, Kai Ting sends Su Can off and prepares herself to admit defeat…until our hero unexpectedly shows up in front of the live broadcast as a novice makeup artist. Putting on a big smile to hide her surprise, Kai Ting readily agrees to Sun Can’s request for her to be his makeup model. Much to Kai Ting’s glee and her two friends’ disbelief, Su Can’s talent as an artist saves the day and the broadcast was a roaring success.
Despite being teased mercilessly by her friends of how she blushed while Su Can was putting makeup on her during the live broadcast, Kai Ting is very grateful to our young hero for stepping up to her rescue to avert a would be crisis. Given an ultimatum by her boss that the company sales must beat out their competition in three months time or she would be forced to cut her department staff by half, Kai Ting decides to take a risk on Su Can again. Flustered when Kai Ting offers him a job as Love U’s spokesperson, Su Can reject our heroine’s offer and explains that after being scammed by his neighborhood friend he is convinced now that a person must not try to take shortcuts in life. Unable to convince Su Can to change his mind, Kai Ting affably accepts Su Can’s rejection. Their conversation interrupted when Kai Ting gets a phone call from her fiancé reminding her of their previous agreement to pick out their wedding rings together, an expression of surprise mixed with dismay crosses Su Can’s face when it becomes obvious that Kai Ting is going to get married soon. Shaking off the confusing emotions when a smiling Kai Ting turns her attention back to him, Su Can forces himself to smile back and congratulate her on her upcoming marriage.
Full of understanding when her fiancé calls to tell her that he can’t make it because he has to take his injured assistant to the emergency room, Kai Ting is clueless that she is in danger of losing her boyfriend of eight years to another woman. Trapped by the rain while her boyfriend is off playing the knight in the shining armor to another woman, our heroine looks up in a pleasant surprise when Su Can shows up to her rescue then takes her to dinner.
Paying a visit to Kai Ting’s company the next day to return something she had forgotten the night before, Su Can is alarmed when his grandmother calls to tell him that she has come up to the big city to pay him a visit and is standing at the door of his company that very moment. Confessing to Kai Ting that he is worried about his grandmother’s health if she finds out her retirement savings had been scammed, Su Can tells our heroine that he sees no choice but to tell his grandmother the truth now. Making an impromptu decision as she watches a concerned Su Can leave to meet his grandmother, Kai Ting convinces everyone at the company to put on a show with her and introduces herself to Su Can’s grandmother as his secretary.
Bothered by the feeling that she might’ve actually done Su Can a disfavor by preventing him from telling his grandmother the truth, Kai Ting asks her trusty best friends for their opinions. Clueless that her best friend Marisa is beset with her own doubts of what to do after witnessing Kai Ting’s fiancé acting intimately with another woman, Kai Ting nods thoughtfully when Marisa comments that sometimes people might prefer living blissfully in the dark instead of finding out the cruel truth.
Influenced by her conversation with her friends the night before, Kai Ting’s first thought when she saw Su Can barging into her office the next day is to inquire after his grandmother. Feeling much assured when Su Can replies that his grandmother went home happily, Kai Ting looks up in amazement as Su Can suddenly burst out with the declaration that he has decided to accept her offer to become LOVE U’s spokesperson. Flustered when Kai Ting looks up at him with her eyes wide with curiosity and asks why his sudden change of mind, Su Can is unable to explain the many emotions bubbling inside him…including the twinge of pain whenever he sees her habitually banging her head on the wall as she tries to come up with yet another solution to another crisis. Keeping her eyes on Su Can as she stares at him with an impish smile, Kai Ting’s amusement fades as Su Can replies with all seriousness “Because of you.”
Her puzzlement turns to understanding when Su Can quickly explains that he is thankful to Kai Ting for seeing his potential, our heroine happily shifts her attention to the task of giving our hero a makeover. Undaunted when Kai Ting warns him that she will be putting him through an intense course of learning to become a makeup artist, Su Can solemnly promises that he will do his best.
With the three months deadline hanging over her head, Kai Ting decides to ask her fiancé, Gao Ze Shan’s company to be in charge of marketing Su Can’s image…which means our two male leads will finally meet. His usual friendly smile faltering a bit when Kai Ting introduces Ze Shan as her fiancé, Su Can watches with a forlorn expression as Kai Ting naturally puts her hand in Ze Shan’s as they walk away. Not bothering denying when one of his co-workers guessed his true feelings for Kai Ting, Su Can rejects his co-worker’s encouragement for him pursue Kai Ting and replies “She is getting married soon. To a man that I can’t even begin to compete with. I am content to just see her happy.”
Treating her wedding plans like another business event to be planned (because if she doesn’t it will just keep getting pushed back), Kai Ting takes a day off from work to go pick wedding rings with her fiancé. Unable to stop thinking of his assistant every time Kai Ting gets interrupted by phone calls from her work, Ze Shan nonetheless has no plans of calling off the wedding…yet.
Clueless of her fiancé’s internal conflicts, Kai Ting meets with Ze Shan and his assistant Rou Xin (the woman Merisa saw) to go over their marketing plan for Su Can. Walking in on the meeting, recognition flashes through Marisa’s eyes when she sees Rou Xin. With a joking tone that belies the fire in her eyes, Marisa declares for all to hear that she had assumed the worst when she saw Ze Shan out eating with another woman in an Italian restaurant last week but now she met Rou Xin in person, she realizes it was just a misunderstanding. Dismay washing over them once they figure out what Marisa must’ve seen, Ze Shan watches hopelessly as Marisa “invites” Rou Xin to accompany her for a trip to the bathroom. Shrinking under Marisa’s almost pitying stare, Rou Xin flinches when Marisa asks “Do you think you can win?” After a moment of silence, a pale faced Rou Xin looks up and replies “I will give up.”
Puzzled when a visibly shaken Rou Xin stumbles back into the meeting room then quickly excused herself, Kai Ting doesn’t suspect anything amiss even when a worried Ze Shan also excuses himself to rush after his assistant. Belatedly realizing that Ze Shan had forgotten his cell phone in his rush, Kai Ting picks up the phone and follows after her fiancé…who was busy at the very moment embracing his sobbing assistant right in front of her company building. Hoping to catch up to Ze Shan in time, Kai Ting walks out of the front door and is yards away from seeing her fiancé in an embrace with another woman when Su Can shows up out of nowhere and spins her around into his arms.
My favorite scene in this episode! In the very last scene, our two male leads exchange stares. Our hero’s was a challenging stare like “Yes, that’s right. I am protecting your girlfriend because you obviously don’t deserve her.” While Ze Shan’s was more like “Wait, what happened here…more importantly, how am I going to get my sobbing assistant off me before my real girlfriend turns around?!”
Ninja’s First Impression:
I really REALLY like this one! Of course there is still plenty of opportunities for this one to go south, but for now, I am pretty impressed. To be honest, the plot is nothing to write home about as far as a noona romance go. However, Iron Ladies simply have this mysterious charm that I loved right from the beginning, especially whenever our two leads share a screen. It’s kinda difficult not to like a show when you find yourself swooning every time the two leads are together.
Our two leads’ character set up is pretty straightforward (Heroine- a super capable professional woman who is used to shouldering everything on her own. Hero- an innocent artist with lots of talent and a heart of gold.) but I was wowed by how perfect their casting was. I am not familiar with actress Aviis Zhong who plays the heroine, but boy, I think of all the noona romances I have watched, her character is the one I constantly find myself thinking “Wow, if I was that young boy I would totally fall in love with her too!” Not to be outdone, Ben Wu who plays the hero is also doing an outstanding job since I find myself fanning right along with the heroine and her friends everytime our hero unknowingly reveals his charm.
I didn’t cover too much about the heroine’s two friends’ storyline in this post because the show actually didn’t give them much screen time until the third episode where we see a potential love interest for Marisa and some signs that the Kai Ting’s other friend’s seemingly perfect marriage is not what it appears to be. It remains to be seen if the two friends’ storyline will be interesting but thus far I am really liking the three girls’ solid friendship and that gives me hope on the secondary storylines.
So there you go, a very promising start for Iron Ladies that I am crossing my fingers will turn into a solid winner!
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