Well Intended Love is the story of the romance between Xia Lin, a third-rate actress, and Ling Yi Zhou, a hotshot CEO. The cdrama starts with Xia Lin finding out that she has Leukaemia. It is sad, dramatic, and heartbreaking, as a cancer diagnosis should be. Then Xia Lin finds out that her match for a bone marrow transplant is Ling Yi Zhou. She chases him around to make him agree to give her his bone marrow. He finally relents but asks her to sign a marriage contract with him in exchange for his bone marrow. And so begins the romance.
- Simona Wang as Xia Lin, a third-rate actress who signs a marriage contract with Ling Yi Zhou in exchange for his bone marrow after her Leukemia diagnosis.
- Xu Kaicheng as Ling Yi Zhou, the overbearing CEO of Lingshi Group. In exchange for donating his bone marrow, he asks for a marriage contract with Xia Lin to fulfill his grandmother’s wish of seeing him settled.
- Ian Yi as Chu Yan, Ling Yi Zhou’s best friend. He’s a famous and well-loved actor
- Liu Jia Xi as Jia Fei, Xia Lin’s best friend and roommate. She eventually becomes Wen Li’s girlfriend
- Huang Qian Shuo as Wen Li, Ling Yi Zhou’s personal assistant, and Jia Fei’s boyfriend
- Sun Jia Qi as An Ran, Chu Yan’s and Ling Yi Zhou’s childhood friend. She is in love with Yi Zhou
- Kiwi Shang as Yin Shuangshuang, a successful celebrity, and Chu Yan’s friend
- Yang Hao Ming as Nan Jin Tian, Ling Yi Zhou’s step-brother who goes after Xia Lin to take revenge on Yi Zhou
- Chen Xin Ru as Yang Tong, Xia Lin’s assistant
The first episode is rather peculiar. It starts off all gloomy and serious. The lines sound a little robotic. There’s a misunderstanding, a cheating boyfriend, a cancer diagnosis, and fainting one too many times. It’s all so melodramatic and cliché that I couldn’t stand it. I almost dropped the cdrama. But I had read many excellent reviews of Well Intended Love, and everybody was harping on about how much they enjoyed it. The cdrama was really popular, and I wanted to discover why. So I persevered and somehow watched the entire thing. I’m going to divide my review into “the good” and “the terrible everything.”
The first ten episodes are good. This cdrama has your fan-favorite clichés of a rich man, poor woman, and contract marriage. We’ve got our kindhearted, noble, and innocent girl and the harsh, overbearing boss. There’s awkwardness between two people thrown into the deep end of a marriage and sweet moments that accompany the start of a romance. We see their relationship develop almost naturally. Kisses and affectionate scenes are aplenty in Well Intended Love. There is tension, chemistry, and lots of fluff—a perfect recipe for fans who enjoy an easy romance and can stomach all the cheesiness.
The supporting characters in Well Intended Love are interesting enough. The best friends of the leads are good people and are also very supportive. Chu Yan is childish, but he is so protective of Yi Zhou. He has his struggles, but he does his best at everything he does. Jia Fei is bubbly and bright. She always has Xia Lin’s back. One character I liked the most is Wen Li, Yi Zhou’s assistant. He’s strange in a good way. The poor man put up with Yi Zhou, and he’s got my respect because I would’ve quit so fast if I were in his place. Moreover, Jia Fei and Wen Li’s love line is quite enjoyable.
The Terrible Everything
This cdrama is too cheesy and chock-full of clichés. Almost every scene is a cliché. It’s like the writer just wrote down all the clichés they could find and called it done. The female lead is trying so hard to be independent, but all she does is provide the male lead countless opportunities to play the white knight. And don’t get me started on the male lead. They make him out to be this good guy with a traumatic childhood, but he’s just a controlling jerk masquerading as a nice guy. Yi Zhou is selfish, manipulative, and overly dominating. He straight-up demands things from Xia Lin and puts restrictions on her. He manhandles her and thinks he knows what’s best for her. No amount of trauma can excuse this kind of behavior, though Well Intended Love tries really hard to justify it.
The Plot Twist
It’s the plot twist from episode 10 that ruins everything for me. The man faked a medical diagnosis to trick her into marrying him. Well Intended Love attempts to rationalize this by showing that Xia Lin was the kind stranger who helped him when he was at his lowest. Her kindness touched him so much that he decided to find out everything about her. The creep stalked her and manipulated her into a contract marriage. How can one do this to someone they love? At least, Xia Lin’s reaction to this revelation was appropriate. She gets angry and decides to leave. He confines her in his home and doesn’t let her escape. This is so abusive and scary. She eventually leaves. But of course, we can’t give her too much credit; she takes him back quickly simply because he sits under her window in the rain.
Well Intended Love makes the whole situation seem like it’s not a big deal. They try to add some comic scenes to lighten it, but it all falls flat. As a woman, watching this caused me so much concern. Are they actually trying to sell this as romance? It is really terrifying. Imagining myself in this position, I was horrified. This is not a romance; it is a nightmare for women. Yi Zhou lies, manipulates, gaslights, and crosses so many boundaries. The cdrama presented him as this dreamy husband material, but in reality, he is a bastard. He can go to any length to keep her with him, and they’re portraying this as an epic love, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s an obsession. This guy should be in jail.
The villains of Well Intended Love are highly typical. The female villain, Ah Ran, in love with Li Zhou, could do anything to have him. She acts nice, but it’s just a fake persona. All she ever did was plot various schemes, many of which were quite extreme, to break up Yi Zhou and Xia Lin. Till the end, she didn’t learn her lesson. Nan Jin Tian is the male villain. He is Yi Zhou’s mother’s stepson. Jin Tian hates his stepmother but goes to such lengths to ruin the biological child she left and never contacted again. Instead of attacking Yi Zhou, he goes after his wife, which is just wrong. And it’s also such a common trope in cdramas.
Acting and Production
The acting is quite bad. It’s so awkward and over-the-top that it is downright cartoonish. The direction and editing are awful. The angles are odd. Transitions are too sudden, and some look like those PowerPoint transition effects. The scenes don’t flow properly, and the jump cuts are too sudden and overused. It is all very disjointed. There so many disparities and plot holes. Well Intended Love is an honest-to-god mess.
My Overall Verdict
This Chinese drama is ridiculous and over-the-top. What matters when it comes to liking or hating Well Intended Love is the plot twist. If you can bear it or shrug it off, you’ll be able to watch it. But if you can’t, then this is not a good fit for you. I found it to be cruel and abusive. The story is too creepy, and no woman can accept this kind of situation and enjoy a happily ever after in reality. The actions of the characters can be too far-fetched and predictable. Honestly, this Chinese show is very problematic. This is not a romance; it’s a romanticized depiction of a toxic and abusive relationship. I suggest that you skip it because no amount of shirtless scenes can save this cdrama. The fact that Netflix picked up this poorly made show is surprising.
You can watch the show here.
There’s also a season 2 of Well Intended Love. It is not a sequel, and the plot is completely different from that of Season 1. Though still full of ridiculous clichés, the second season is better than the first season as it does not have anything extreme like the plot twist of season 1.
You can watch Well Intended Love season 2 on Netflix, Rakuten Viki, WeTV, and Youtube.