Chen Mai Dong (Li Xian) is a strikingly good-looking man, whom one can imagine sitting in a boardroom calling the shots. Instead, he has chosen to be a funeral make up artist. Even though his life as a mortician is looked down upon, he is committed to serving the dead and giving them a dignified farewell. Chen Mai Dong is unapproachable and an extremely private person, a far cry from his rebellious days as an errant teen.

Zhuang Jie (Zhou Yu Tong) is a successful medical salesperson. Her effervescent personality and ever smiling face draw people in. Zhuang Jie’s teenage years were tough—a car crash left her physically disabled, but she worked hard on herself, overcoming the many challenges that came her way.

Chen Mai Dong and Zhuang Jie were high school classmates and meet years later in their hometown Nanping. However Chen Mai Dong is brusque and does not care to acknowledge the friendly Zhuang Jie. It seems fate—and the townsfolk, including Mai Dong’s grandmother, want these two to be together, but the biggest spanner in their plans could well be Mai Dong’s prickly personality.

Will Love in Spring” is warm as much as it is inviting. The story and the arc of both the characters are dynamic, keeping one engrossed. Here are reasons as to why you should too tune in to “Will Love in Spring.”

The enigmatic Chen Mai Dong

There is something irresistibly charming about Chen Mai Dong, but approach him at your own risk. He is extremely reticent, and even though what he does is somber, it seems to have become part of his personality. Chen Mai Dong in his thirties is a far cry from his 17-year-old rebellious self. Known to get into fights and having been bullied in school, Mai Dong was a troubled child. Even though there are constant rumors around town of his hyper defiant days as a teenager and of that grievous incident which changed his life, Mai Dong remains impassive.

Well aware that his profession is looked down upon, he has a valid explanation: “It is not us they hate, they fear death. This is one profession where you cannot say let me be of your service.” He is committed to his job, and the grim reality of the inevitable has made him practical as much as it is made him sensitive toward those suffering.

However if there is one thorn in his life, it is his grandmother’s constant efforts to get him to date and hopefully married. Mai Dong has had a break-up in the past and seems disinterested in getting into a relationship.

Even when his former classmate Zhuang Jie cheerfully greets him on the train, his cold stare clearly states, “Buzz off.” It is obvious he remembers her but does not want to acknowledge her or anything from his past. But what is it he is hiding, and why does he avoid getting close to people, are questions which constantly come to mind. As he keeps running into Zhuang Jie and avoids her, you can feel there is more to it than he shows.

There is something intriguing yet fascinating about the mysterious Mai Dong. He has layers to his personality, but no one can scratch the surface and dig deep into his soul. Even though he has deep insight into life, which also comes with the nature of his job, it seems Mai Dong has also shut the world out.

Li Xian has an arresting screen presence and an alluring charm. He gets the beats of his character, the restrain, articulating the emotional undercurrents with his subtle yet impactful performance. Li Xian once again proves his finesse when it comes to slice-of-life narratives such as “Meet Yourself.” His dashing good looks only add to the seductive appeal of Mai Dong.

Zhuang Jie, a spirited livewire

Zhuang Jie is a spirited soul who is warm and friendly, and it is easy to get along with her. She is back home in Nanping after years in Shanghai. The first person she befriends when back is an old lady, a former ping pong champ, who is desperate to find her match for her grandson. A hilarious moment is when Zhuang Jie teaches the granny how to navigate Shake, a WeChat function that matches random strangers, so much so the old lady feels Zhuang Jie herself would be worthy future granddaughter-in-law. That’s Zhuang Jie’s charm—you cannot help but like her. It only seems her former classmate Mai Dong back home does not want to recall or even engage with her.

Back home, she helps her mother who runs a successful chicken business along with her husband, who is Zhuang Jie’s step-father, with food deliveries. She also takes charge of her young sister’s education. Following the arrival of her brother, who no longer wants to pursue his major and becomes a cause for concern, Zhuang Jie is the one who understands his existential crisis.

We are matter of factly told that Zhuang Jie has a come a long way. When she casually teases Mai Dong for failing to recognize her, one understands she was indeed a different person back in school. Years ago, the crash which killed her father had left her with a serious injury. Having lost her leg, Zhuang Jie was dealing with severe trauma, but recalls it was a classmate of hers who had given her the hope to carry forward. She is told by the young Mai Dong, “A crutch can be a weapon too,” which are words she had held dear. As she takes on life as it comes, one cannot help admire her optimistic attitude.

Even though Zhuang Jie is the poster girl of determination and indomitable strength, could it well be just a mask, a front she has put on for the world to see?

Zhou Yu Tong is a charming and carefree actor, which comes across in the ease with she plays Zhuang Jie. Her infectious smile apart, she has an innate knack for comedy as well, which she aces with the emotionally charged sequences as well.

The journey of love and healing to come

One can feel undercurrents of attraction and sparks waiting to fly. Will Zhuang Jie’s warmth melt the frosty Mai Dong? Well, we certainly—along with the folk of Nanping—are rooting for it. The winds of change are starting to blow, and one can’t wait to see how the romance between the reluctant Mai Dong and the charming Zhuang Jie will unfold.

It is obvious Mai Dong has had a deep impact on Zhuang Jie’s life as she confesses to his grandmother that she once did like her grandson a lot, but now the feelings with time have changed, or have they if at all? The confession does not take Mai Dong by surprise. It seems he has been aware all along but prefers being ignorant. Even as she reveals how he had helped her grapple with the biggest adversity in her life, his face remains devoid of emotion. But it is obvious he is nor entirely oblivious to her either. In a cute moment when Mai Dong helps Zhuang Jie after she hurts her leg, he remarks how she seems to have gotten heavier and talks much more than she did back in school. He does remember her well after all.

One can feel that this couple will be fire together—there is a sizzle in the cold stares, in the stolen glances as well in the slightest touch. Will these two find the solace and the anchor they so seek in life and heal and grow together? This is one slow-burn romance waiting to scorch our screens, and one cannot help wait for the love story to begin.

“Will Love in Spring” is a well-written drama, and the story moves at a comfortable and even pace. It’s a unique story in terms of its treatment as well as topic, which pertains to the male lead’s choice of profession, and the story is nowhere heavy. Well-written characters, good performances, and a melodious OST make this one a must-watch.

Start watching “Will Love in Spring”:

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Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yang Yang and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram.

Currently watching: “Queen of Tears” & “Will Love in Spring