Q Series: Life Plan A and B [植劇場 – 荼蘼]Episode 2 Recap and Review

For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to refer to switches between going with her career vs going with her family/bf as Plan A (career) vs Plan B(love). Hopefully this will make things clear when I’m switching between the two!

Recap:

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Plan A (career):
Ru Wei is still eating instant noodles while in Shanghai, although this time it’s while skyping You Yan. She’s complaining about how she’s overworked and hasn’t had time to sight see yet, much less eat fruit. You Yan tells her to take care of herself, and she nods  until the call drops. Ah Skype.

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Ru Wei’s new manager Eason is smart, knowledgeable, and self-reliant. Once, she had to go pick something up for him at his apartment, and got caught by a woman in a silk robe as she was leaving with a piece of fruit (haha). Turns out he’s got a different woman over every time though, so Ru Wei didn’t get in too much trouble. When she handed him his requested documents, he nagged at her speed, but rushed off to his meeting.

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We see another Skype call between Ru Wei and You Yan, but he doesn’t respond to her hug request, and when she tries to recount the fruit taking story, he tells her he’s tired and wants to hang up. Aw :/

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At work, there’s been a big blow up. A number of people have been sent to hospitals from food poisoning because of one of the new flavours seasoning packets, and the entire company is scrambling to handle the issue. Eason takes over, rapidly giving orders to each department.

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Ru Wei stays late at a factory one night waiting for the last delivery of the recalled noodles. She sees Eason walking out from the gloom, he’s come to check on the product recall himself. After poking around the boxes, he pulls out one of the curry flavoured noodles and offers some to her. He admits at one point to hating curry because of a trip to india, but when Ru Wei waxes poetic on the flavour, he jumps on the opportunity to use her words to rectify the situation.

He tells her to do three things: 1. if they don’t get sick tonight, to tell PR to send a free box to all of the affected families 2. post what she just said under the name of one of the family members of someone affected with the food poisoning 3. notify the factory to prioritize the new flavours, and ramp up inspections. He aims to create demand and bring about success. We see a montage of Ru Wei working hard during the following three days with no sleep, until she finally collapses on her bed.

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Plan B (love):
Ru Wei takes over shifts at the hospital, and gets some time with Uncle Tang. He complains about the hospital food, but refuses to stop them because that just means more work for his wife. When Ru Wei comments that this is what love is, he says that love stopped a long time ago. When Ru Wei gets up to grab the nurse, he thanks her for helping, and confides that after the fall his confidence was shattered, but knowing that You Yan stayed in Taiwan helped him feel relieved.

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Aunt Tang seems to be continually longing for her daughter, and upset that she doesn’t seem to be showing the proper amount of concern. She recounts how much effort she and her husband put into raising their daughter, and now she just says take care and doesn’t fly back to Taiwan. When they go to the hospital to take care of Uncle Tang, he praises the soup she’s made which nettles Aunt Tang a bit, since she nagged it for being too gingery.

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Ru Wei chooses to ask Uncle Tang if she can rent You Shan, You Yan’s younger sister,’s room since she gave up her lease. While she and You Yan eat dinner, she plans out how they can move forward with caretaking and covering work. Ru Wei volunteers to take care of Uncle Tang while You Yan works, and then find a job after. The two share a sweet moment talking about working together.

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Uncle Tang’s recovery is going well, and he continually makes improvements. Ru Wei wakes You Yan up for a midnight date to see a movie, and they seem happy and moving forward.

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Of course, things aren’t always perfect. Ru Wei gets sick, and when You Yan pushes back his shift at the hospital to meet a colleague, she deletes a text telling him she’s sick, and decides to suck it up. You Yan finds her sleeping later, and cuddles behind her while she sleepily responds. Moments later though, his hand sneaks under the covers, and Ru Wei pulls it out, scolding him for trying while she’s sick. He continues to try and entice her though, saying that he misses her and it’s now or never since they rarely have time. Dude really? Ru Wei sigh and flops over before putting a mask on, and You Yan tells her to take it off. If she’s sick, he’ll be sick with her. You say that now…

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You Yan’s sister You Shan is finally coming back to Taiwan, and Aunt Tang is overjoyed. There’s a bit of an issue now with sleeping arrangements, and when Uncle Tang suggests Ru Wei sleep in the same room as You Yan, Aunt Tang is scandalized. She refuses on the basis that word might get out – she doesn’t care what the neighbours think of their family, but she doesn’t want other people to think Ru Wei wasn’t taught well. Ru Wei rushes to say that it’s no problem, she has to head home to her own relatives anyways. She promises to clean up her room for You Shan so Aunt Tang doesn’t have to, but you can see she’s torn a bit.

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You Shan has finally arrived in Taiwan, but from You Yan’s expression it’s clear there is something wrong. Turns out she and her husband are here with a client, and will be spending most of their time outside of Taipei. You Yan blows up, telling her that she’s only here to visit for 10, maybe 30 minutes, her husband isn’t even paying his respects to their dad because he “doesn’t like the smell of hospitals”, and that she’s spoiled. Does he really have to tell her how to be a good daughter? These are her parents, not just anyone.

You Shan protests that she came as soon as she got off the plane, but You Yan tells her it’s not enough. You Shan runs out, and You Yan heads to the garden in a bad mood. Ru Wei follows him, telling him that she understands, but she has to catch her own bus.

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And yet, later that night, Ru Wei opens the door to the Tang apartment, where she finds Aunt Tang dozing on the sofa. It’s clear that 1. Ru Wei chose not to get on her bus, and 2. You Shan didn’t come home to stay after all. Aunt Tang groggily wakes up, and asks Ru Wei if she’s eaten dinner. Ru Wei tells her that they can have instant noodles, and it seems as if the two have bonded a little.

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The next morning Aunt Tang invites Ru Wei to pray with her, eliciting a surprised look from Ru Wei. Aunt Tang expresses her concern for Uncle Tang’s health, praying for heaven to keep their family safe and sound, and to bless You Yan and Ru Wei in their career and lives. Fade out….

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Plan A (career):
Ru Wei wakes up in the hospital, where a nurse tells her she’s supposed to rest – working for days straight after the instant noodle fiasco has taken a toll on her health. Although she texts You Yan about being ill, he seems distant, and Ru Wei’s manager drops by later to check on her and inquire about their relationship. Ru Wei can tell that her manager has something to say, and tells her not to let [Ru Wei] blindly go forward and make any mistakes. Turns out Ru Wei’s manager saw You Yan in a car with a random girl, and found it odd, she tries to spin it off as over reacting but neither woman seems too convinced.

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A few days later, Ru Wei is called into her boss Eason’s office – he wants to know the reason behind her resignation request. When she says that she misses home, he asks if she’s married (no), if not her husband then is it her parents she misses (no), and lastly, so you’ve been dumped. He tells her he’s taking her to eat something delicious, and later at the restaurant tells her to eat up – he won’t tell her the three steps to getting over her bf until she does. Ah, so he’s our daddy longlegs character.

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Ru Wei eagerly starts eating, and he tells her that she shouldn’t focus on what she’s lost, she needs to focus on what she has. We see a montage of her finally realizing her dream to an extent, buying material things that she’s always dreamed of, but never had the ability to before. She pauses as she eats however, since now she’s realized she has to eat alone.

Later that night Ru Wei shows up drunk in front of Eason’s apartment. When she knocks on the door, the director that she admired earlier opens it, and tells him in English that a lady is looking for him. Ru Wei is giggling and wobbling all over in her heels, and tells her boss that she’s ready to learn step two.

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Ru Wei wakes up on the couch with a bad hangover, and attempts to sneak out of the apartment but is caught by Eason. He tells her to eat breakfast before she goes, and as she sits down, tells her step two. Break up with You Yan – an expired relationship isn’t salvageable, and it’s easier to recover if she’s the one calling the break up. As she sits in shock, we see the scene switch to You Yan with a girl about to eat dinner.

End.

Comments:

This drama keeps impressing me, and the issues it touched upon are ones I think many of its viewers can relate to. How image is important, and reflects upon how your parents/family raised you, as well as what level of effort is expected to be a good daughter or son. Obviously in this drama things are a little more clear cut; You Shan’s husband is being rude by not seeing anyone else, and her visit to Taiwan is obviously not to see her father or for his benefit. If perhaps the issue had been gray – money was tight or she had children to mind in the US – it would have been a bigger struggle between what is expected and what You Shan can/is willing to give. Regardless, I’m impressed so far with the drama and personally, rooting for Plan A. I think Ru Wei deserved better than You Yan, and the fact that he ignored the fact that his girlfriend is sick to get some action made me annoyed since Ru Wei clearly wasn’t interested (at first). I suppose they do share sweet moments, but I predict a relationship deterioration it both A and B for them. Eason seems ambitious, but slightly morally gray. I’m not a fan, but not against him (yet, ha!)

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True Love 365 [求愛365] Episode 1 Recap

The drama starts with a very busy opening sequence, introducing most of the characters as well as how they’re related or how they become connected.

Zhang Bi Ting walks out of an office building with a stack of papers and coffee in hand, and turns the corner as Lai Yu Xiang is out on a jog and runs into her.  All her papers go flying but Yu Xiang doesn’t bother apologizing and continues on running.  As he runs up to the office building, Wu Shu Xin walks out on the phone, and he slows down to check her out before she gets in a taxi.  An annoyed Bi Ting walks to the next intersection and begins to cross the street, as Lai Jun Jie is making a right turn without noticing her.  Jun Jie suddenly brakes and causes the taxi behind him to brake too, which happens to be the taxi Shu Xin is in.  Bi Ting freezes for a moment and then continues on walking, and they all continue on their way.

Yu Xiang makes it back to his apartment to hear a message from his brother Lai Tian Cheng, reminding him to make it to his (Tian Cheng’s) ceremony at noon, and tells Yu Xiang to remind their sister, Lai Yu Jie to come too.  Tian Cheng adds that what he needs most is everyone’s blessings (implying that he’s getting married).

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On his way to the ceremony, Yu Xiang is distracted on the phone and accidentally hits an old woman.  He rushes out to help her, and is very willing to pay for it, but insists that they go to the hospital first.   She repeatedly refuses, saying that she doesn’t have insurance, so he can just pay her 20,000 NT (a little under $700 USD) and he won’t have to worry about her anymore.  He becomes suspicious, realizing that the “blood” is really ketchup, and spits out all this legal information and gets ready to leave.  At the same time Bi Ting sees this without hearing the conversation, so assumes he’s a heartless rich kid who refuses to help the elderly.  Yu Xiang mistakes her for the woman’s accomplice and refuses to pay.  A crowd eventually gathers around the trio, and Yu Xiang is in a hurry so he’s pressured into paying the woman 10,000 NT before rushing off to his brother’s ceremony.

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At the ceremony, we see an upset little girl, Lai Xiao Die, watching as her mom, Chen Yi Ru, is getting her make-up done.  Tian Cheng sneaks in to play with Xiao Die, but she’s having none of it.  He asks Yi Ru what’s wrong and they get into a small argument.  Things get a little tense, and Yi Ru orders Tian Cheng to leave, saying that it’s unlucky for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.  He snaps back that she’s not the bride anyway—giving us the sense that this isn’t a wedding after all.

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Yu Xiang meets his brother and consoles him, saying that marriage is based off of trust, and the moment the trust is gone, so is the relationship.  Wow, how deep… Anyway, he encourages his Tian Cheng to look forward to the future.  Tian Cheng argues back, saying Yu Xiang has no right to say anything because he isn’t married yet.  Yu Xiang says that it’s just that he hasn’t met his “perfect woman” yet.  He claims that as a “gao-fu-shuao” (literally “tall-rich-handsome”) man, all the women around him are too shallow for him.  Um, narcissist much?

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And side note: what is up with Yu Xiang’s outfit?! Uh, a velvety maroon jacket….not the most flattering choice.

Meanwhile, Yu Jie has just come out of an audition, complaining that the director was so picky for asking her to cry with happiness in her eyes, and orders Mark to take her to her brother’s ceremony, just as Calvin drives up accusing her of cheating on him.  She says that they were only friends and nothing more, and she and Mark drive off.

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Jun Jie is busy working and also almost forgets the ceremony.  He’s reminded and wraps up, rushing off after his business meeting.

Bi Ting is seen creeping up on her friend and co-worker, Xiao Q, and whispering, “Miss. Q, do you think your behavior right now is appropriate?”  Xiao Q freezes, thinking it’s their boss Shu Xin.  Apparently, that’s Shu Xin’s signature phrase?  Bi Ting tells Xiao Q all about the car “accident” and the heartless man, and Xiao Q breaks it to her that the lady must’ve been a con-artist and Bi Ting worries at the thought of becoming an accomplice, ha!

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Just at that moment, she spots Yu Xiang and freaks out.  She thinks he is stalking her to get revenge, and when she gets called over to talk to him, she nervously walks over.  Things start out very professional and quickly turn drastic as Yu Xiang lashes out at her for all the “low-quality” features of the wedding decorations and displays how disappointed he is in her company.

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Bi Ting is so frustrated that she finally blurts out, “We are a wedding planning agency, do you think our specialty will be in DIVORCE PARTIES?!”  Finally, we know for sure what this celebration” is for, and her statement gives Yu Xiang reason enough to kick her out of the party for being a “potential threat.”

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And of course, as she gets dragged off, she drops her cell phone, and Prince Charming, I mean, Jun Jie, swoops in to save the day!  He picks up the phone and asks for her phone number as he calls it to make sure that’s her phone. (Man, that’s a good trick to use if you want a girl’s phone number…)  He apologizes for Yu Xiang’s rude behavior, and then enters the party, leaving behind a mesmerized Bi Ting.

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Shu Xin also arrives at the party, and turns out she’s Yu Jie’s bff.  Yu Jie introduces Shu Xin to everyone, and Shu Xin automatically offers to discuss potential business partnerships with Jun Jie.  Both the uncle, Yang Bo Wen, and Yu Xiang are captivated by Shu Xin.  Shu Xin and Yu Jie go to the restroom and conveniently discuss the men at the party.  Shu Xin shows an interest in the hard-working Jun Jie, and scoffs at the mention of Yu Xiang.

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At the “divorce ceremony,” Tian Cheng and Yi Ru exchange their blessings for one another as they part ways.

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The parents, Lai Da Fa and Yang Yu Mei, finally show up.  The dad lectures about everyone’s irresponsibility etc. and that they’re all over 30 and still unstable.  So, he gives them an ultimatum: within the year, at least one person must go through the blessings of the parents and get married, otherwise all their inheritance will go to charity.  And whoever does so first will get all of the inheritance.  But the kids all brush it off and don’t seem to care.

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After the ceremony, Yi Ru has her suitcase packed and is moving out with Xiao Die.  Tian Cheng asks why the rush to cut off all ties, and Yi Ru responds that it’s a little too late to worry about that now.  A common friend, Guan Shi Cong, is there to drive Yi Ru and Xiao Die to their new place, leaving Tian Cheng is fuming.  I think someone’s a little jelly…

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The next morning, at the Shan Mu Bu Lang Qi Restaurant (the siblings/uncle’s meeting place), Tian Cheng is dreaming about Yi Ru and Guan Shi Cong, still not over his ex-wife, obviously.  They all meet up for breakfast and the uncle brings up the inheritance issue.  However, nobody cares but the uncle.  After everyone leaves, unperturbed  by their parents’ request, Yu Xiang explains to Bo Wen everyone’s situation for not caring: Tian Cheng has no sense of thinking about the future because he lives every day like it’s the last, Jun Jie has never thought about the inheritance as an option because of his background (hm…what does that mean?), and Yu Jie is sure she’ll become a world-renowned actress and is just waiting for her first masterpiece.  As for Yu Xiang, he claims that with his intelligence and creativity, he can make 10 times his father’s inheritance, so he doesn’t care.  Pahahaha, what confidence!

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At work, Bi Ting gets called in to Shu Xin’s office.  Shu Xin says that last month Bi Ting received the highest number of clients, but the total money she earned for the company was the lowest.  She lectures on ways of doing business with both ends benefiting and getting the best deal, and asks that next month, Bi Ting to still have the highest number of clients but also make sales in the top three of the company.

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As she leaves, Bi Ting walks past Jun Jie and they lock eyes as he smiles.

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But just then, Shu Xin comes out and she and Jun Jie leave for their meeting.  Bi Ting gazes dreamily at the door and says to Xiao Q, “My 20-second man appeared…he came and after 20 seconds left with Miss. Wu (Shu Xin), and has taken my heart with him…” lollll

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Shu Xin and Jun Jie go out to a site that he plans to start his next project on, since he’s an architect, and they discuss possible collaborations with her company.  There’s a lot of technical sounding terms and I’m still not quite sure what Shu Xin’s company is (it’s definitely more than just a wedding planning agency, I can tell you that), but she’s very successful/high up and has a lot of influence on what the company invests in, apparently.

Jun Jie takes Shu Xin back to her office, and sees Bi Ting’s mom visit her and tell her that Uncle Da has proposed to her (the mom).  She hasn’t agreed because she wanted to ask Bi Ting first, but Bi Ting doesn’t respond and looks upset.  She tells her mom to take bus 285 to get home; then says bus 220 will also work.  Although it takes two tickets, it’ll arrive home faster.  (Symbolism…? Implying that re-marrying may not necessarily be a bad thing…)  As Jun Jie sees this, he says to himself, “also a single-parent home?” His choice of “also” hints at his background, that might not be as simple as it seems!

Fated to Love You Update and New Drama!

So I’ve thought about this for a while, and have decided to put the Fated to Love You recaps on hold as I try out a new drama and do a few trial recaps.  The drama, which began to air in March of this year and is still currently airing, is called True Love 365 (求愛365).  It stars many well-recognized actors/actresses and some new faces, but hasn’t seemed to receive much attention.  However, I have followed it for quite a few episodes and felt it worth it to share with you all, so I have decided to try recapping it and seeing how it goes.  The 19th episode just aired this Friday and it’s supposed to have about 20 episodes.

The story revolves around a well-off family with the parents and four children: three boys and a daughter.  The kids all have their own (unstable) lives and personalities, and the parents finally can’t take it anymore.  At their oldest son’s divorce party (yes–you read that correctly, a party to celebrate a divorce…apparently it’s popular these days), they have proclaimmed that within the year, at least one of their children must be married, otherwise, they will donate their entire inheritance to charity.  Oh, did I mention?  The oldest son just got a divorce, the second son is a workoholic, the third son is a player, and the daughter dreams to be a famous actress…

Anyway, I’ll be starting up these recaps soon, so watch out for them!