Chinese slice-of-life romance drama “Stand or Fall” follows the story of Guan Wen (Qin Lan), a successful career woman who faces setbacks in her professional life after experiencing office attacks by her subordinates. The drama follows Guan Wen’s journey as she struggles to find a new job and regain her confidence. Along the way, she encounters Ding Ning (Wang Yang), her ex-boyfriend from college. Guan Wen leans on her two best friends Chen Xuan Xuan (Liu Yun) and Jing Zhi Qiu (Zhang Meng) for support and comfort as they all navigate the challenges of adult life. The narrative explores their friendship, determination, and perseverance as they work together to overcome their respective struggles.
“Stand or Fall” is an adaptation from the web comic “The Year to 30,” featuring the themes of resilience, personal growth, and the importance of friendship in facing life’s challenges. The drama offers viewers a glimpse into the characters’ journeys as they strive to rise victorious once more in their adult lives. If this isn’t enough to pique your interest, check out some reasons why you should start watching “Stand of Fall” below!
Career-driven and fearless female lead
The leading lady Guan Wen begins her journey as a brand development executive, and she’s compelled to resign due to unjust office politics. However, life takes an unexpected turn when she finds herself in the role of business development director at Wanli Mall, a struggling establishment on the brink of bankruptcy. To add to the challenge, she’s reunited with her ex Ding Ning at Wanli Mall.
Guan Wen is a career-driven woman with an exceptional educational background and remarkable abilities. She embodies principles, fearlessness, passion, and a willingness to take calculated risks. She tirelessly dedicates herself to her work, unburdened by societal expectations. In her pursuit of career advancement, she often goes the extra mile, even collaborating with challenging clients. Nonetheless, she unwaveringly upholds her moral standards and relies on her own strength to secure greater benefits for the company.
Guan Wen’s character is characterized by eloquence, business savvy, and a commanding presence within the cutthroat corporate world. She is a true force to be reckoned with. Qin Lan delivers an exceptional performance in bringing Guan Wen to life, portraying her as an intelligent, assertive, and strong-willed individual with firm convictions and a penchant for maintaining control.
Charming and business savvy male lead
The male lead is Ding Ning, a highly successful investment executive. However, he faces an unexpected challenge when he’s unfairly transferred to Wanli Mall as its general manager with the formidable task of doubling the mall’s sales within just three months. In the corporate world, Ding Ning is known for his unwavering confidence, decisiveness, and exceptional business acumen. His interpersonal skills are notably sharp and polished. However, it’s not until he’s assigned to a company teetering on the edge of financial collapse that his true capabilities come to light. With his outstanding business skills, Ding Ning successfully orchestrates a remarkable turnaround for Wanli Mall.
Yet, when it comes to matters of the heart, Ding Ning reveals an unexpected side—he’s surprisingly timid. Despite harboring deep feelings for Guan Wen since their breakup, he consistently masks his emotions and pretends to be indifferent. Fans of actor Wang Yang will be thrilled to see him in the role of a charming romantic male lead for the first time. It’s quite enjoyable seeing Wang Yang portray an attractive and successful counterpart to Qin Lan’s character Guan Wen while displaying moments of jealously and being in love. His portrayal is remarkable as he captures the essence of a mature and suave individual who, despite his sophistication, harbors a ridiculously goofy crush on his ex-girlfriend.
Power couple OTP
In “Stand or Fall,” Guan Wen and Ding Ning can be perfectly described as an exceptional duo. As previously highlighted, Guan Wen is a formidable individual in her own right, but when paired with Ding Ning, they transform into an unstoppable power couple. Most prominently, the couple’s synergy shines in the office, where they seamlessly collaborate as a dream team, fearlessly tackling an array of business challenges. Whether it’s boosting sales or navigating the treacherous waters of corporate competition, they confront unscrupulous executives and colleagues with unwavering determination. Viewers will undoubtedly appreciate the way they exemplify teamwork and showcase their exceptional capabilities when faced with adversity.
In terms of romance, following an honest and heartfelt conversation, Ding Ning and Guan Wen come to a realization: their affection for each other had always been present. In response, they choose to be direct in expressing their love and affection. Their relationship is marked by unwavering support, each offering it in their own unique way, and mature and witty banter—a refreshing departure from the clichéd push-and-pull dynamics that are prevalent in many other dramas.
A poignant line from Guan Wen beautifully describes their connection: “We are beyond the age of frivolous romances. If we can support each other and become better versions of ourselves, wouldn’t that be wonderful?” They represent a mature couple characterized by open and honest communication, propelling one another towards self-improvement and personal growth.
Qin Lan and Wang Yang share a remarkable on-screen connection. Their dynamic is electric, with sparks flying whenever they share the screen. Their undeniable chemistry, marked by playful bickering and clever attempts to outwit each other, are the key highlights of the drama.
“Stand or Fall” is a female-centric drama that focuses on women and how they break various stereotypes in their lives to achieve independence. Guan Wen has two best friends who are like sisters with different personalities and aspirations. Despite their contrasting lifestyles, the three friends are a tight-knit group, unwavering in their support for one another through the highs and lows of life.
First we have Chen Xuan Xuan, a former archer from a privileged background. Despite her athletic career, she has struggled to find her professional calling, jumping from one job to another without commitment. Instead, her primary focus has always been her long-term relationship with Lin Hao (Wei Qian Xiang). Unfortunately, Lin Hao’s interest in Xuan Xuan lies solely in her family’s background and influential connections to elevate his career, and he views her reliance on him as a weakness to exploit. While Xuan Xuan is a hopeless romantic, she demonstrates immense strength and courage when she uncovers Lin Hao’s true intentions. In a remarkable display of resilience, she decisively ends their toxic seven-year relationship.
Next is Jing Zhi Qiu, a former actress who retired during the height of her career to become a full-time housewife. Her husband Wang Li Ren (Zhang Duo) is a dedicated workaholic, fully engrossed in his demanding career. His relentless commitment to work leaves him with scarce time to spend with his family, resulting in Jing Zhi Qiu feeling isolated and unfulfilled. She also deals with the expectations of her mother-in-law, who seeks to exert control over every aspect of her life, including when they will have their second child. Jing Zhi Qiu embarks on a personal journey to confront her own identity, recognizing that she desires more than being solely defined as a wife and mother. She aims to rediscover her true self as Jing Zhi Qiu. After careful contemplation and soul-searching, she makes a life-changing decision to participate in a reality talent competition show, marking the bold and courageous beginning of her journey to reignite her career in the entertainment industry.
“Stand or Fall” is a rare gem that beautifully portrays personal growth and the idea that individuals can be even better together. Whether as friends or with their chosen partners, each of the ladies become the best versions of themselves by the end of the story. Audiences can appreciate how their decisions feel true to life—knowing when to let go and also having the courage to fight for their true love despite all the reasons they should not. It leaves you feeling inspired and hopeful, a testament to the power of resilience and love in our lives.
Supportive male leads
Finally, you can’t overlook the supportive male leads, who prove to be wonderful partners to both Jing Zhi Qiu and Chen Xuan Xuan. Wang Li Ren is a remarkable and devoted husband. Despite his workaholic tendencies, he steadfastly maintains his loyalty and remains unfazed by advances from his executive assistant Lisa. When he learns of Jing Zhi Qiu’s decision to return to the entertainment world, he becomes her most ardent supporter and fan, attending her events with enthusiasm. They are a loving couple, and Wang Li Ren’s genuine love for Jing Zhi Qiu shines through in their relationship.
Amidst Chen Xuan Xuan’s gradual relationship deterioration with Lin Hao, she embarks on a new career venture by opening a cafe. To boost her coffee shop’s success, she recruits He Yi Fei (Lawrence Wong), a handsome and exceptionally talented barista. His presence attracts an influx of customers to the newly established coffee spot. Initially, He Yi Fei was a reluctant addition to the team, having previously been a PhD student under Xuan Xuan’s father. However, as time passes, he secretly develops feelings for Xuan Xuan, becoming a pillar of both moral and emotional support during her divorce. Initially, Xuan Xuan had reservations about entering into a relationship with He Yi Fei, mainly because of their age gap and disparities in educational backgrounds. However, over time, she comes to recognize that he is an exceptional man who genuinely cares for her and is dedicated to her happiness and well-being.
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blacksesame88 is a long-time Asian drama and entertainment addict. She enjoys discussing her favorite dramas and sharing her knowledge of Asian entertainment. When she’s not watching dramas, she’s busy snapping aesthetic photos of delicious food on Instagram. Follow her on Twitter and join her for recaps of the current dramas she’s watching, also feel free to say Hi and have a chat!
Currently watching: “”My Journey To You,” “Sunshine By My Side,” and “Call Me By Fire Season 3.”
All-time favorite dramas: “Go Ahead,” “Nirvana In Fire,” “Queen In Hyun’s Man,” “A Witch’s Romance,” “Love O2O,” “Skate Into Love,” and “My Mr. Mermaid.”
Looking forward to: “As Beautiful As You” and “Amidst a Snowstorm of Love”