Palms on Love Episode 1 Recap: Li Ruo Tian Reunites With Wang Yun Han In A Painful Way

Palms on love episode 1

Just like many other Youku Originals, each episode of Palms on Love lasts for only 11 minutes, but the actual drama (aside from the intro & outro) puts it at a comfortable 8 minutes – as I said, very standard for dramas like this.

Palms on love

According to the information on MDL, this is a revenge drama about a girl, Ji Lian Yu, who breaks up with her boyfriend/fiancé, Xue Dong Feng, and then ends up dating his father (but she doesn’t know their relationship) because his father had a hand in her family’s wrongful conviction.

It’s supposed to have 24 episodes and should run from the 23rd of February to the 4th of March with new episodes being released every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. You can watch Palms on Love on either the YouTube channel (slower release) or the Youku app.

One thing I’ve always loved about Youku is that they really know how to craft a mean opening scene because I was immediately drawn in from the montage in the beginning. There are flashes of a nightclub, the old vehicle, and the general vibe really leans into the republican or post-republican era.

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It’s raining and then a vehicle is sort of still pressing on despite the downpour and the scene switches between that route and a dark room where a tryst is ongoing.

And then we see this very pretty woman who we will later learn is either the mother or stepmother of our male lead. She’s in this incredibly provocative position as she waits for her lover, and the pouring rain only heightens the ambiance. While we don’t know that this is a tryst, there’s something undeniably criminal about both parties and that’s a win from the get-go.

Soon enough, the camera pans back to the car that is slicing through the rain and this is when we see our female lead for the first time. It’s still unclear where she’s making her way to under the rain, but she’s very determined and her face is very fierce and a little vindictive as she sits in the back seat of the car.

And then for the first time, we hear some dialogue and it’s between the woman and her lover. He asks her something along the lines of whether she isn’t scared her husband will find out she is cheating on him, and she tells him that he couldn’t care less about her because he is taking a concubine (we later learn that this is actually his sixth concubine).

The scene after this finally shows us where our girl has been making her way to, and it turns out she plans to rat out her co-wife to their husband. And while we don’t have enough information as to what she hoped to get out of this, it’s clear that she hoped for some anger on his part, but definitely not towards her – he actually slaps her and then walks away angrily.

Our girl is still outside where she received the slap, and she has the most wicked smile on her face, and this is just what lets me know immediately that she knew that his anger was simply false bravado and he was actually going to take action against the wife (which he does with his choice of firearm).

One thing that was unclear to me about this though was that I was a little confused about her endgame. Did she want to ruin his family? Did she simply want to shake up his world? Did she want to be seen as a trusted confidante? Then again, this is only the first episode so it’s very expected that things would still be more murky.

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Anyway, he finally gets to the room and all we see is the pointed gun before the scene pans to the ordinary-day streets, and we learn that Xue Zhao Kun, our girl’s husband, is a rich merchant who just died from a sudden disease.

This was clearly not meant to happen because we see the target of her actions that night still roaming the corridors while she’s on her knees begging not to be sent away since she’s being treated as the jinxed bride who caused her husband’s death.

Our male lead’s entrance and introduction are entirely too dramatic and I barely stopped myself from laughing out loud. When you’ve watched dramas as much as I have, you figure out when the showrunners are bent on delivering atmosphere and visuals, and that’s all I got from this incredibly dramatic entrance.

But we do find out he doesn’t have the best relationship with his father when he makes a comment about how his love of money took his life so there wasn’t any need to burn joss paper for him. I’m guessing this will give us much context for later on so it’s necessary; what wasn’t necessary, though, was him throwing it up in the air and walking through the falling pieces so dramatically.

When he leaves, she starts thinking about how it’s not yet time for her husband to die because she has some scores to settle with him, so this is when we get the first hint that this is a revenge drama. And contrary to his anger towards her at telling him about one of his wives’ indiscretions, Lord knows where he finds a gun but then we see him walking, and it turns out he is walking towards the room where the clandestine affair is underway.

This is when we see that he has been told about his father’s new wife, who, apparently, is a money-loving vixen who ensnared his poor father in her trap. Despite the lack of filial piety he just showed, he does a total 180 and resolves to throw away the treacherous woman since (idk) she loves money too much and she might have truly jinxed his father.

You guys, when he walks through the house and finds her on her knees still praying for the repose of the soul of her late husband (where are the other wives??), he doesn’t even have a conversation with her – he simply walks up from behind, tells her that his father is dead and she must follow him, then proceeds to strangle her with one of the sheets we see floating from the roof in the background.

Screenshot 20240227 064403 YouTube

It’s in the course of this unexpected strangulation that she starts crying for help and he lets go when he hears her voice and registers it somewhere in his mind. Our girl stands, grabs a tiny pocket-knife (I genuinely thought it was a ballpoint pen), and tries to run, but he grabs her back and when she tries to injure him with the weapon, he holds her hands and stares into her eyes.

This is when we get the flashback that explains his inability to successfully kill her a few seconds ago (he does try again soon while trying to investigate her motives in his life). Apparently, they were lovers in university but she broke up with him for no reason. They soon change rooms and she tells him point-blank that they wouldn’t have broken up if he had been honest about his financial status and he was agape.

Screenshot 20240227 064446 YouTube

She tells him that she loved and married his father for his money and the way she says it, you know my girl has zero regrets. This is when we learn that she was his first love and he never really moved on from her because he tries to even delude himself that perhaps his father had taken her against her will.

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Watching this episode, one would think that he just learned how to strangle a person because his hands were pretty much glued to her throat after he realized her identity. My man saw her as a chicken and he acted on it to the best of his ability. Even though the constant attempts to separate soul and body became grating, I was happy for the change of pace when he finally lifted his gun (blood is, indeed, thicker than water).

Screenshot 20240227 064658 YouTube

He then tells her that they should set things right (I read this as him wanting some closure), but she wasn’t having any of that and she essentially told him off and impliedly dared him to shoot her.

The episode ends with a fierce stare-off and I’m genuinely interested in seeing the next episode. Even though the summary on MDL pretty much gives away the entire storyline, there are some things I’m curious to see.

Top of the list is whether our leads will eventually have any chemistry. Don’t get me wrong, but right now, they still feel a bit stiff unlike Hong Ye and his woman from Circle of Love, which I genuinely feel should be the template for chemistry in romantic C-dramas.

Are you watching Palms on Love? If you are, what do you like so far? Would you recommend it to people? What did you think about episode 1? Let me know in the comment section.


I'm the girl for the job if you want amazing drama recommendations (no, really!), OST recs that will leave you deep in your feelings, and genuine drama talk that you can only get from a viewer with lots of biases. I'm always on the lookout for new dramas to watch, so don't hesitate to leave a comment with something you think I'll enjoy and I'll send a reply ASAP. Thanks for visiting!

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