I was super glad to take the recommendation of my dear friend and fellow Asian drama addict Sheila when she raved about Le Coup de Foudre (which literally translates to Thunderbolt). At first, I admit that I was apprehensive about diving in becauase clips on youtube hinted at high school in the early 2000s. After seeing several other clips at the suggestion of youtube, I’m glad I tried to find out more because this is definitely one of the best Chinese dramas that I have watched.
Synopsis: Yan Mo (Zhang Yu Jian) is the consistent top student in his class while Qiaoyu (Janice Wu) always finds herself at the bottom of the class list. When they become deskmates, they develop feelings for each other but their budding romance is hindered by a huge problem in Qiaoyu’s household. It takes another six years for the pair to reunite and own up to the feelings they have closely kept in their hearts for nine years.
At 35 epsiodes, audiences typically feel that there are a lot of filler scenes for most dramas. But this was not the case for Le Coup de Foudre. The series escaped this trap by making sure to develop not only the lead characfers but also tbe suppporting cast. While Qiaoyu and Yan Mo’s story was the main romance, viewers also develop a relationship with Qiaoyu’s big brother Guanchao (Eden Zhao) as the series provides him plenty ot scenes to flesh out his backstory. The drama explores why he is super protective of his sister and why he goes through relationships without getting serious about anyone. Despite his playboy ways, audienes will root for him because of his nurturing characteristics and his absolute love for his sister that he is always willing to drop everything for her. Big brother goals right here.
From their time in high school until their adult years, audiences grow up with the tough but sensitive Wuyi (Ma Li) and applaud her for her absolute loyalty to Qiaoyu. Their sisterhood is fantastic and should be relationship goals. Her final storyline with her mom made me cry buckets.
I’m happy that Dachuan (An Ge) also had his own love story even though audiences would think he’s the mere comic relief at the beginning of the drama. His contrast with Youmei (Zhang Yue Ying)was hilarious but at tte same time wonderful. Seeing him fall for her was super cute. It was also great to see him evolve into a responsible adult who does his best to protect his family and friends.
There is no doubt that I absolutely loved Qioayu and Yan Mo and their nine year plus love story. From their budding feelings and mutual understanding in high school to finally reuniting as adults and finally owning up to their feelings, audiences understand how much they cared for each other from the beginning. It was super fun to watch the stiff Yan Mo fall in love with the tenderhearted Qioayu and not know what to do about it even six years later. But when he finally got the girl, I loved that he grew a mischievous side, having fun teasing her but always wanting to make her happy. I love seeing him get jealous although he never admits it. When he succeeds in thwarting his love rivals, it was always a hoot given his stoic personality.
I loved Quiaoyu was not the typical high spirited girl who got the guy. Rather, she’s the low key average girl who does her best and wins people with her genuine kindness. I liked that she’s a perfect foil to Yan Mo’s seriousness and taht they totally complemented each otehr. Their love is so pure and so natural even from the beginning when they were both so clueless about relationships.
While the character development and the contemporary love stories were the main focus of the story, what really got me hooked was the strong sense of family. When Qiaoyu’s stepdad almost died, my heart shattered for her and felt her helplessness. When her dad talked about her, it was so obvious how precious he saw his little girl. Even until the wedding scene, Quiaoyu’s dad made me cry buckets, so moved was I by the parental dynamics. It also featured strong mothers who raised their kids alone like Qiaoyu’s mom and Wuyi’s mom. They had different ways of showing their love for their offspring but it was nonetheless genuine and relateable. I loved the twins’ interactions. Even though they teased each other mercilessly, they are each other’s #1 and it just makes audiences care so much about their happiness. I especially loved how Guanzhao is so stubborn about his principles but only gives in at the request of his little sister.
The dialogue was also very solid. The reflections that Qiaoyu shared through voice overs as she reminisced her journey with Yan Mo was profund yet relateable, poetic and sensible. By the last episode, it seemed like it was a mere wrap and opportunity to load more ads but it wasn’t done in a vulgar way like Meteor Garden’s finale. It still felt like a natural way to say farewell to the characters we loved so well. I just wished though that in the final scene, they showed Yan Mo and Qiaoyu cuddling instead of sleeping facing different directions. It would have been sweeter. Shifting to Yan Mo’s perspective for the final voice over was a great touch to show how his feelings actually reflected that of his wife’s.
Le Coup de Foudre was tastefully done, well executed drama that holds a lot of substance as well as entertainmant value. It had a great cast who brought to life lovable characters that pulled at the heartstrings. I don’t think any amount of praise from my review could do this series justice. It just sticks with you. And that’s definitely a good thing.