The Legendary Witch


Reviewed by: sukting

May 23, 2016

Rating: three

Foreword


Four women are cellmates at a woman's prison. They have their sad past, but through bakery lessons, learned in prison, they open a bakery shop and compete against a large bakery company.


Story/characters


1. Han Ji-hye as Wen Xiu Ren
She is a poor orphan so she isn’t accepted by the Mas even after Dao Xian marries her. After his death, she is made the acting director ut is framed by Tai Shan to get jailed for two years for doctoring accounts. She vows to seek revenge after getting a baker’s license. She first starts by selling sandwiches in a van but the van is destroyed by Zhu Lan. Thus, she has to get Ying Yu to help to set up a bakery shop for the four of them.  

She likes Yu Shuo during the time they stay together in Er Wen’s home. However, she is hesitant due to Zhu Xi to reject him. That breaks his heart and the others find it unbelievable as all see how obvious it is to them. They go through all odds to get married after Dao Xian’s death as she feels sorry to let him down. There is no breakthrough. She just needs to look demure. Her pairing with Seok-jin is only lukewarm.


2. Ha Seok-jin as Nan Yu Shuo/Nan Zhen Yu                                                                                           He is a widower with a daughter. He gets Shinhwa Group scholarship to learn business management but is only interested in baking. Worried for Fu Nu who refuses his visits, Er Wen requests him to teach the inmates baking. That is how he meets the women but only Xiu Ren shows talent in baking to be the only person who passes to get the license. 

He is totally appalled upon knowing that Er Wen likes Fu Nu, an ex-convict. After that, he realises that she is indeed a nice person and becomes ashamed of himself upon knowing that he is actually her son.


Tai Shan has initially wanted him to be his son-in-law by trying to pair him with Zhu Xi and promote him as production director. Yu Shuo has preferred to bake than to wear a suit at work. Tai Shan changes his mind to transfer him to Vietnam to work after knowing that he is his enemy’s son. how can he not know it as he likes baking as his late father?


Yu Shuo has never thought of remarrying. He rejects Zhu Xi many times – not because he blames her for killing his wife but he has no feel for her. But when Xiu Ren is released from prison and staying at Er Wen’s place, he simply can’t contain his pleasure although he still claims to be her teacher.


It is through a plane crash incident when he gets injured for him to win Xiu He over. Xiu He thinks that he is seriously injured but he only injures his arm. He is delighted when she finally reveals her love for him. Since then, he wants her to wait on him till he recovers – to help him to walk, feed him and even to wash his face.


He grows up in an orphanage and regains his memory after seeing the photos. He decides to sue Tai Shan. Shinhwa share prices stumble but he has no wish to stay. He opens a new bakery, Tortoise bakery to continue his father’s legacy. Also only passable performance from him. He looks bored most of the time. His only breakthrough is the scene where he acknowledges his mother.    

3. Go Doo-shim as Shen Fu Nu                                                                                                              She is framed by Tai Shan for killing her husband and is jailed for 30 years. She treats the other 3 as her daughters. She finds it hard to adapt to society at first. Later, she starts romance with Er Wen by working in his laundry shop to sew clothes. She also helps to look after Xing. The young help to arrange their wedding.

4.Oh Hyun-kyung as Sun Feng Qin                                                                                                           She keeps cheating others and is jailed thrice. She dreams of marrying a rich man and mistakens that Yue Han is rich. Both deceive each other till they discover that they actually stay in different rented rooms at the exam hostel. She is materialistic – after knowing that Ying Yu is rich, she sucks up to her to become her bodyguard.


Both she and Yue Han are at loggerheads with each other but later get married after she is pregnant. They stay at Er Wen’s home intitally before they get their own home. Splendid acting from this actress – she can also act as Xiu Ren as she is more powerful.  

5.Ha Yeon-soo as Xu Mei He                                                                                                                 She is a promising model but is pregnant with Dao Zhen’s son. She demands to marry him and fails. After stabbing him by mistake, she is jailed for 2 years and her son is born in prison. She promises to keep it from Dao Zhen as she receives money from Ying Lan for her ailing father. Her father dies and she later works at the café, becoming a barista.


Bao Jing causes her to lose her job. So she works with Xiu Ren first at the meal van and later at the bakery. Dao Zhen learns of her ordeal and both get married. Her career takes off again as a model. Yeon-soo is too soft plus young and not that convincing as a single parent.  

6. Park Geun-hyung as Ma Tai Shan                                                                                                        He is the CEO of Shinhwa group in bread manufacturing. He is very harsh towards Xiu Ren and hates her so much to send to jail. Jealous of Yu Shuo’s father’s success, he burns the whole shop together with the man and his son. Little does he know that Yu Shuo will survive.


He is aware all along that Dao Zhen is not his son so Ying Lan gets softened to vote him to be the CEO while Yu Shuo becomes the Vice CEO.He tries to prevent Fu Nu and Yu Shuo from knowing the truth. He refuses to admit his mistake till Dao Xian’s death to get life sentence in jail.

7. Jung Hye-sun as Fu Dan Xin                                                                                                               She is Tai Shan’s senile lawful wife. Despite her failing memory, she only likes Xiu Ren for being filial to her and does not recognise her daughters. She remembers where Fu Nu wants her to keep the legal documents of Tai Shan’s offences. Ying Lan takes care of her after Tai Shan is jailed.

8. Jeon In-hwa as Che Ying Lan                                                                                                             She is Tai Shan’s second wife whose son is Dao Zhen. Dao Zhen is actually fathered by her lover who dies in a car accident after knowing that Tai Shan has designs on her. She has worked in the factory before – that is why Fu Nu recognises her as Yu Shuo is also close to her to call her elder sister.


She uses his death insurance to pay for Yu Shuo’s operation cost and sends him to the orphanage after the fire, changing his name. She also keeps sending him parts of the photographs, hoping to help him remember. She gets Shinhwa to finance his studies so as to seek revenge. She has been searching for the documents for 30 years.  


To stabilise her home position, she insists Dao Zhen of marrying Bao Jing. She is nervous when Dao Xian wants to test Dao Zhen’s DNA. Dao Xian is in a coma for 2 years due to the car accident, not dead by the plane crash. She lets go of the past to accept Mei He and her son to stay with them. 

9. Byun Jung-soo as Ma Zhu Lan                                                                                                           Zhu Lan is the spoilt eldest daughter. However, she takes pains to look after Dan Xin. Tai Shan gives her a shop to manage but due to Xiu Ren stopping her van in front of it to affect her business, she bribes an employee to lie that Xiu Ren’s sandwich causes her to have food poisoning. Xiu Ren demands an apology and she is let off but Tai Shan stops her from going to the shop again.


She never stops harassing Xiu Ren and the others after they set up a new shop. Revealing their past to their customers has an adverse effect of their business. She even destroys Xiu Ren’s sandwich van to stop her from continuing her business. Being a nosy person, she gets hold of Bao Jing’s hair and her son’s pacifier to test their DNA to sneer at Ying Lan for making the wrong choice.


Ying Yu decides to teach her a lesson. She goes for an audition and buys a painting. She makes Zhu Lan pay for it and donates the cost to a welfare fund for the female inmates. Zhu Lan is later jailed when she is discovered destroying the van. She still put on airs by claiming to be Shinhwa group first daughter but is bullied by the other fiercer inmates.   


Thumbs up for her acting. You will hate her so much for being so snobbish and wicked. Somehow, I suspect that it runs in the genes as all Tai Shan’s children are evil in some way.

10. Lee Seung-joon as Piao Yuan Zai                                                                                                             He is Zhu Lan’s lawyer husband and is dismayed that he is not recognised for his efforts. They are childless and they keep a cat. He is mad with her for having an affair with a younger man but later they patch up. He sucks up to Tai Shan for bribing the witnesses to prevent Yu Shuo from knowing the truth.

11. Kim Yoon-seo as Ma Zhu Xi                                                                                                                    She is the second daughter and likes Yu Shuo for a long time. She woos him openly but he is unmoved. Initially, she feels apologetic towards Xiu Ren but is jealous when she learns that they love each other.


She is overjoyed when Dao Xian is still alive to keep Xiu Ren by his side but Xiu Ren reminds her that she is only his enemy. She becomes despicable to steal her recipe and claim as her own. She is forced to resign from Shinhwa group and decides to go to the U.S.

12. Do Sang-woo as Ma Dao Zhen                                                                                                                 He is the second son who is a playboy. He ditches Mei He but later misses her. Ying Lan misleads him into believing that Mei He has aborted their son and moves overseas. He keeps harassing her at the café so Ying Lan decides to get him to marry Bao Jing.


He cries on the engagement day. He often follows her and gets jealous when she speaks softly to their son, thinking that she has a new boyfriend. Upon learning the truth, he resigns and moves away from home to register their marriage and be independent. 

13. Go Joo-won as Ma Dao Xian                                                                                                                     He is Tai Shan’s first son who has a head for business. He is a big disappointment to Tai Shan after marrying Xiu Ren. After he survives from the car accident, he tries hard to woo Xiu Ren back, even through despicable means to force her to move home by refusing to go through the physiotherapy sessions. He resembles his father in some way.


That angers Yu Shuo and he is pleased that they are in a cold war. However, his conscience is pricked after knowing Tai Shan’s evil deeds. He surrenders to the police to take the rap for Tai Shan and later dies due to side effects of the accident during the investigations – this time for real. Before his death, he writes a will, giving away his shares to Yu Shuo.      

14. Park In-hwan as Piao Er Wen                                                                                                                 You might wonder why 3 women are interested in him despite his age. He is a caring and romantic man despite his strict appearance. He is in charge of the female prison and befriends Fu Nu. He gets to like her and prepares for her release happily to allow her and her ‘daughters’ to stay with him. He is very annoyed when Ying Yu tries to hinder him from dating Fu Nu. His persistence pays off but is glad that Yu Shuo is now his son.

15. Lee Jong-won as Zhuo Yue Han                                                                                                               He is Ying Lan’s chauffeur and sometimes ferry Dao Zhen. He stays at the exam hostel and lies to be Dao Zhen to please Feng Qin. Feng Qin is displeased when he gets her s cheap ring. He gets jealous when other men woo her so he gets her an expensive ring for his wedding proposal. Feng Qin sells it instead to want to buy a bakery but Ying Yu gets it back.

16. Lee Sook as Piao Qing Ci                                                                                                                       She owns a fried chicken shop and likes Er Wen for a long time. She is mad with Er Wen leases out his home to so many women. She is also the women’s association’s chairman so she has a lot of influence. Knowing that Xiu Ren and the others save her daughter from being harassed by gangsters, she clears the air for them.

17. Lee Han-seo as Nan Xing                                                                                                                       her birthday is also her mother’s death anniversary. She is only 5 years old but she is very mature. She is hostile towards Zhu Xi but close to Xiu Ren. So is she to Fu Nu than Madam Pei or Ying Yu. It must be telepathy between her, Er Wen and Yu Shuo as they are related. She likes looking after Mei He’s son. You will have a good laugh when Ying Yu pays her to read Er Wen’s love letter to Fu Nu for her.

18. Kim Soo-mi as Jin Ying Yu                                                                                                                            She is at loggerheads with Fu Nu when both live in the same jail cell. She has cheated money from Fu Nu’s father and works as her maid but boasts to be rich. After her ceil mates learn that she lies, they bully her and she requests to stay with Fu Nu and the others.


The women call Fu Nu mother but call her aunt. She is illiterate but loves saying English or Japanese phrases that she learns by heart. Her dream of winning lottery turns true but she chooses to stay in Er Wen’s home as she is scared of being alone. Knowing that Zhu Lan is biased against inmates, she teaches her a painful lesson.   


Whenever she appears, my whole family laughs as she likes to sing ‘gentleman’ and other songs. She also does many funny acts. She has the lively appeal to make everyone enjoy her appearance.
 
19. Hong Ah-reum as Yin Bao Jing                                                                                                             She comes from a rich family and is Dao Zhen’s fiancée. Dao Zhen is puzzled why she can still accept him despite knowing his past. It turns out that she has a son out of wedlock overseas but brings him back to claim him as her nephew.


Ying Lan is puzzled why she requests Dao Zhen to stay with her family for a year. She only realises the truth after Zhu Lan discloses. She pleads with Dao Zhen to continue their wedding plans as it is a disgrace for her family if they break their engagement. Bao Jing’s mother manages to move Ying Lan with the company shares that Yin family holds, citing that both their children are imperfect.


Dao Zhen rejects her, citing that he is still a popular bachelor. That angers her to blurt out that Dao Zhen fathers a son. Dao Zhen sees her still unrepentant and encourages her to seek for true love since she still loves her boyfriend as he has found his.   

20. Lee Seung-hyeong as Director Wang                                                                                                       He helps to cover up the past with Ying Lan. Whenever Tai Shan gets suspicious, he will call her to plan their next move.   


Interesting facts


Highest rating was at 35%.

Awards and Nominations


 2015 MBC Drama Awards 


Best Actress (special project) (Jeon In-Hwa)


Excellent Actress (special project) (Oh Hyun-Kyung)


Best Supporting Actress (special project) (Kim Soo-Mi)


Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Han Ji-hye Nominated


Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama Ha Seok-jin Nominated


Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Oh Hyun-kyung                         
Golden Acting Award, Actress Go Doo-shim. Jung Hye-sun Nominated


 


4th APAN Star Awards


 Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Han Ji-hye Nominated


Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama Ha Seok-jin Nominated


 


Most favourite character


Yu Shuo, he is filial towards Er Wen and moves in to stay with him upon completing his studies overseas as he is worried of him being alone after his wife’s death. He is also a determined lover, waiting for Xiu Ren to change her mind.  


 


Most hated character


Tai Shan, he simply refuses to face his ugly past. He even makes Yuan Zai his accomplice to silent all the witnesses. luckily, Fu Nu’s ex-employee reveal the truth to her and Yu Shuo or they will never acknowledge each other.  


 


Conclusion


 


Sukting’s ratings :


 


It is just an average drama on family members. Some may condemn Xiu Ren for being harsh to Dao Xian. But please consider for her – she is framed to be jailed for 2 years. She takes it hard and cannot bring herself to stay with them again even though she is still Dao Xian’s lawful wife. All the family members do not accept her except her mother-in-law. What is the point of staying with her husband even though he still loves her as she already has a change of heart too? 


 


I find the script weak. Ying Lan also forgives Tai Shan too easily. Just because he doesn’t reveal Dao Zhen’s parentage to his siblings does not mean that he is forgiven. Has she forgotten about her fiancé and why she suffers for 30 years?


 


I find the title legendary witch a very wrong phrase. They are not wicked in any way. Neither are they very strong too against Shinhwa Group. Xiu Ren looks so fragile to want to cry frequently just because she is bullied while Mei He is clueless on what to do too whenever Ying Lan threatens her. If not for Ying Yu and Feng Qin (who often gives tips on Zhu Lan’s whereabouts to trick her), they can never get back at them for ruining their lives. Only the two of them deserve the title.   


 


For once, I am glad that the awards go to the deserved winners and not the leads as they really shine in the drama. The others really have to work a lot harder as the drama is not as successful as expected.


 


On acting : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


 


On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)


 


 


 


 


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