**Warning: Spoilers Ahead**
Despite a shaky start, xianxia drama Immortal Samsara <沉香如屑‧沉香重華> gripped many viewers as its story arc and characters advanced, and streaming platform Youku seized the chance to offer “advance on demand” which allowed priority viewing of the final 6 episodes along with cast livestreams. However, loud grouses of unhappiness were heard when the finale episode aired on September 2, as viewers felt robbed of a happy ending (HE)!
Physically absent from the closing livestream attended by Cheng Yi (成毅), Ray Zhang (張睿) and other cast actors, lead actress Andy Yang Zi (杨紫) only connected via audio as she was busy filming in Xianju county for upcoming drama Lost You Forever <長相思>. Despite Yang Zi’s apology and sharing that she had borrowed Wi-Fi equipment to come online, but could not appear on video since she was in her new drama outfit at that time, some fans commented that the actress was disrespectful for not showing up.
Speaking up for their co-star, Cheng Yi reminded Yang Zi to take good care as it was tough filming during summer where mosquitoes were rampant, while Ray said he was worried about the poor Wi-Fi reception over at Yang Zi’s side, which they experienced when the Immortal Samsara crew did filming for two particular scenes in Xianju. As both actors stood up for Yang Zi, fans praised the trio for their deep friendship and complemented the duo’s gentlemanliness in protecting her from fans’ fury.
BE Ending Leads to Fan Heartbreak
The lack of a happy conclusion for Yingyuan and Yandan in the finale episode shattered the hearts of many fans, since Cheng Yi and Yang Zi had viewers shipping the CP with their onscreen chemistry, and touching plot developments such as Yandan digging out her heart to save him.
As descendant of the Asura clan, Yingyuan’s bloodline was once sealed, but awakened in a duet with Hengqin. The Asura clan suddenly barges into the Heavenly Realm, and Yingyuan is finally forced to use the sword to restore peace to the three realms, sacrificing himself in the process.
Heartbroken, Yandan expresses her promise of love to him and how all meaning is lost with his death. “Yingyuan, I’m coming to accompany you,” she says and self-destructs whatever is left of her remaining heart to be with him.
Youku Teases Special Sep 7 Episode
Unhappy about the outcome of the leads, fans voiced their displeasure, commenting, “What era is it and you’re still giving me “dying in the name of love” crap!” Some expressed annoyance at having paid only to watch the central couple’s funeral, while others mock-lashed out at the screenwriter for delivering the hurtful “male lead saves the world, female lead dies for love” trope.
As Youku could customarily deliver a sad finale before wrapping the drama up with a “special episode”, many viewers saw the September 7 additional episode announced by Youku as the “real” conclusion to Immortal Samsara. Despite the excitement, fans felt apprehensive about having to reach into their pockets for the special ending, and compared Youku’s sales tactic to having “paid the full sum for bubble milk tea, yet being given only milk tea, with the pearls being given after a five-day wait”.