Silence Taiwanese Drama Recap and Review

Silence KILLED me. Let me say that again. KILLED ME. Mostly the last three episodes. I love Silence, overall, but it won’t go into my list of favorite dramas of all time because, for most of it – all of the middle section – it’s very slow-moving and not a whole lot happens(it’s also repetitive, as is to be expected with dramas). Also, I didn’t adore Park Eun Hye or her character as much as I need to in dramas that become my favorite. In Mars, I loved both Qi Luo’s character and the actress that played her. In Silence, I loved her character, overall, so perhaps it was Eun Hye that I never quite totally warmed up to. Park Eun Hye is not beautiful(she has random flashes of incredible beauty, but is not overall) in my opinion, and that bugged me. She’s a good actress, but I admit that I kind of wished they could have found a brilliant actress to play this role, since that of a mute girl who communicates only with face, expression and hands has such potential for a truly subtle and expressive actress. Her character was also a little bit too staid for me at times – she put up with far too much of Zhuo Jun’s demands and running-rough-shod over her life, for one thing. However, those are personal quibbles; overall, I thought she was both an amazing character and an amazing actress. She really pulled off her role, and wow, those moments/scenes where she did light up…amazing. And the character of Zhao ShenShen is, mostly, incredibly compassionate while at the same time having a healthy respect for herself, and best of all never ever expresses or seems to feel any self-pity for herself over her incapacity, nor will she let other people feel that way. Unselfconsciously and naturally she deals with it. She has an incredible inner strength that can sustain her(and indeed does) through anything, and I think this is part of what contributed to the havoc Silence wrecked on my heart. In the end, ShenShen, having lost Qi Wei Yi, is still surviving, and will survive, and is even happy in her own way – she’s that strong. But the fact that she can handle it doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking; in some ways it makes it more. Yes, they could have gone the route of her being a weaker person and needing and loving him so much that it broke her and she’ll spend the rest of her life mourning him; could have pulled our heartstrings as hard as possible. But they didn’t. And it almost makes it worse that way; as I watch her, smiling at the end, I respect her deeply, and so it hurts almost more to see her alone, to picture the moments when I know she’ll be missing him so much…

I can’t exactly nail down the moment when Silence stopped taking too long to get where it was going and started being amazing. Probably somewhere around the time when she moved in with him and the series of heartbreakingly awesome cute/affectionate/funny/ scenes between them started. One of the things I LOVE about Silence is that it doesn’t overkill the theme of the male lead deciding he can’t have anything to do with the female lead because he’s dying and drowning in angst as a result while simultaneously breaking her heart. Qi Wei Yi tries, he really does – just enough to show that he actually is a highly couragous and good person. But when fate pretty much throws ShenShen at him with all its might, when she comes to him of her own accord, he doesn’t fight anymore, doesn’t hurt her needlessly. Just takes her in and tries to live normally – granting us the only happy(and wow, are they exquisite) scenes of the drama. That’s when it started really killing me I think. and then…

-It killed me when she started teaching him sign language. That he wanted to learn all he could in that short time he had to enter into her world before he died. That she’s teaching him, not knowing that each sign, each word could be the last he’ll learn

-It killed me when he did have those moments of breakdown in the midst of the happiness he’s trying to live. When he broke down in front of the video camera and said that he didn’t want to die…when, looking at ShenShen, he thought “I love her. But I am so selfish to want to die beside her”

-It killed me when he explained the love-code thing to Zhuo Jun. I’ll say it again: one of the things I appreciate and love the most about this drama is that Qi Wei Yi believes that he and ShenShen are meant for each other, he believes in their love, that she loves him and he loves her, instead of vacillating in fear all the time because he’s dying and not trusting in their love, as I’ve seen in other dramas(think, Why Why Love). They’re fated, and he knows it.

-It killed me when he let her go with little protest, believing it was the best thing for her. It killed me that he never believed that she didn’t love him, but he understood that she had to leave him for her own reasons, and having the secret that he was dying, he let her go…

but mostly? I started dying when she came back to him, saw him across the building, and…opened her mouth and called him.
…he looks up, over the post he’s clinging to cause the pain has hit him again, and the expression in his eyes, the blank amazement…”Qi Wei Yi!” she calls again, her voice clear as a bell, joy threaded through and through it. Pulling himself up, he begins to stagger around toward her, and she walks toward him. “I love you”, she says, straightfowardly and out loud as they reach each other, as the stunned people(most of whom know both of them) cluster in a crowd around them. And the way he looks at her as he stands there weaving, barely keeping it together. “I know”, he says, a beautiful smile crossing his face(while I have Han Solo/Star Wars flashbacks – one of the best lines ever). And then he falls sideways into the pool. And she saves him. Again.

And that night, she finds out that he’s dying.

I LOVE(and it killed me) that neither of them makes a fuss of her finally finding out the truth. She learns it from his friend the doctor, and doesn’t burst into sobs or screaming or run clinging to Qi Wei Yi or go scream at him for not telling her. Instead she just accepts it, and cries, and watches him during the night. While he on the other hand simply quietly accepts the fact that she finally knows, and neither of them sees fit to waste the remaining time they have in discussing or even mentioning it. When he gets up in the morning, he greets her with a smile, and simply and beautifully they leave for the hill together. Their hill. In a bit of symbolism which at first I thought was overkill but ended up being one of the most powerful parts of their last scene together, they’re both dressed in white for the first time.

On the hill, they sit together, a sort of contentment covering both their faces. Qi Wei Yi’s head is on her shoulder, and in that moment there’s a little of the maternal aspect – he’s the weak one at this moment, the one who will leave, while she is the one trying to be(and being!) strong. and yet their relationship is stronger than that. They rely on each other equally. I never felt, during the entire course of this drama, that there was any sort of inequality, either emotional or in any other way, about this couple. They are two adults who choose each other, and in their frank courage and the courageous, no-holds-barred trust they extend to the fact of their love, create a relationship that’s unusually mature for a drama.

and we embark on the scene that officially ripped me into shreds…

“I’m sorry I can’t stay with you longer, ShenShen”, Qi Wei Yi says. ” I promise…in the next life, I’ll stay by your side longer.”
She smiles, in response, and then, reaching up synchronously, the two make again the symbol that defines them, that brought them together. Both reaching up at the same time, they put their hands together to form the symbol of their love and the symbol of their hope of something beyond this world.
Lucky Star.

and then…his hand slips from hers
and the Lucky Star breaks.
and his eyes close, and he goes just like that.

With his head still lying on her shoulder, ShenShen barely has to look down to know that he’s left her. As she watched his hand fall, she knows. Pain spasms across her face.

She stays like that for a moment.
Quietly, she lets them both slip back onto the grass. Just as if he was still alive. she takes the ipod and queus their song, the song that defines them in the same way Lucky Star does, the song they listened to as children underneath the tree. She puts it in his ear, and in hers, and curls up beside him, slipping one hand over his to form the Lucky Star again.

And we pan out on an image of the two of them lying side by side on a wide, grassy hill, two dots of white in the vast loneliness of the world…

I was crying long before this, but that’s when I started really bawling. Really, down and out crying. I’m tearing up again even as I write this.

It’s impossible to express all that was implied and meant and felt in that last scene, without having seen the drama. Suffice to say that it draws on so much of their history, and that with this scene, the circle is finally, utterly, complete. This is where they began, in so many ways, and this is how and where they end.

It was epic.
and it was agony. I seriously have tears in my eyes as I write this, picturing it again. It’s not even that they save each other. Not that she taught him how to love and to live and that he gave her her voice back. Not that her voice saying his name and “I love you” were the last sounds he ever heard(for she doesn’t speak out loud again after their initial reunion). not even that, after that week in childhood, they finally found each other again. Something beyond all these but containing a little of all of them. She lies beside this man, this human being she was fated to love and be with, and in many ways I can’t even wish that he was alive, because this is the place their whole relationship, their entire lives, were going.

And finally the very last scene, in which Shenshen is standing alone on a beach somewhere. Zhuo Jun’s voice comes in as a voiceover: “2006, Christmas. Shenshen left Taiwan. She said she was going to find some place closer to Mars.” Shenshen lifts her lovely, expressive hands, and begins to sign out, as she stands on the beach, with an expression of wistful peace on her face, the words to their song. The camera follows her as she sings, in her own way, their song, every bit of it. Her gift to him. The camera pans out to show a message( ‘I love you’) written in huge letters on the sand beside her. Her message to him. And finally, after she finishes the song, she lifts her hands, absolute joy crossing her face, and makes the Lucky Star sign, staring up at the sky. Zhuo Jun’s voice: “One day, a postcard came from her. She said she was very happy.”

There’s something so eternally beautiful about that….it hurts that she’s happy, that his existence and her love for him could be such a blessing, that she feels his presence even now, and leaves Taiwan only to find a place closer to where he is, to Lucky Star, and that she believes he can see her messages.

Silence had no traumatic farewells with family, no long-drawn-out dying or hospital scenes, no dramatic heroine-finding-out-running-after him and screaming scenes – none of the usual cliches of the tearjerker/tragic drama. In this sense it wasn’t at all like I expected. But it ended up being even more heart-wrenching than I could ever have imagined.

That smile of hers at the end…


-In Chinese Silence’s name is Shen Qing Mi Ma (Love Code) because Park Eun-hye is deaf so she has to communicate through “codes”.


Wei Yi had been beaten up by jealous peers after he won a swimming competition, and hobbles around in a white cast, while Shen Shen had been involved in a car accident. Both are lonely children – the proud and angry Wei Yi shuns most of his classmates, while Shen Shen stops speaking after the trauma she has been through.

During the one week that they are in hospital together, they exchange notes, go to the amusement park, meet in their secret hideaway (an abandoned bomb shelter), and hold hands while listening to music. They agree to meet at the bomb shelter again in Christmas of 2006 (more than ten years in the future). Wei Yi also gives Shen Shen his number, and asks her to call him. Unfortunately, she later loses the number, and she never calls him.

ep 14 great part w/secondary couple

eps 15& 16 all the amazing goodnes s – 16 she teaches him sign language, he says “I love her. But I am so selfish to want to die beside her

“Since these 3 months are your life, then live your life to the fullest.”

“3 months happiness…is happiness too”

Episode 20:

“Because here in lucky star, there is no return flight to earth.”

Lyrics to “Try to Remember”

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.

Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.

Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December, it’s nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December, our hearts should remember
And follow.


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