Starring Zhu Yilong (朱一龙) and Tong Yao (童瑶), Chinese Republican espionage drama The Rebel <叛逆者> swept over ratings since its broadcast on CCTV. Unlike the good pacing in its premiere, the last episode had many furrowing their eyebrows in confusion as the story was so rushed it almost made no sense.
In the finale, Lin Nansheng (Zhu Yilong) and Zhu Yizhen (Tong Yao) both got shot and fell into the water together. Despite desperately trying to grab her hand, Nansheng failed and eventually lost Yizhen within the dark waters. Later, he is fortunately rescued by a fisherman and the scene ends as it jumps into the country’s liberation.
A time skip fast forwards to the spring of 1949. Nansheng is now living under a hidden identity, and works as a teacher at a small village. The scene naturally had audiences dumbfounded, since there was no explanation as to how he freed himself from his commitments with the organization.
Aside from the haste storytelling, the survival of Yizhen remains an enigma. After Nansheng’s rescue, he showed great persistence in searching for the missing Yizhen. However, just as he is dispirited with the lack of news on her again, a scene displays him turning around to Yizhen’s call and the two soon smiling happily as they take a photo along with the singing children.
Although it appeared to be a heartfelt reunion, viewers believe that Yizhen has already sacrificed her life and that the scene is only Nansheng’s hallucination. There had been several hints of her death, as the fisherman who saved Nansheng told him that those who survive should live well for the sake of those who are no longer here. His comrades also showed sympathetic expressions and did not seem to share the same beliefs that Yizhen is still alive. Moreover, the blurry scenes and Yizhen’s faint and ethereal calling solidifies that the entire scene is just his imagination.
Viewers should also find comfort that whether they are physically together no longer matters, as the lovers already achieved their common ideals. With their spirits entwined, Nansheng and Yizhen have never separated.