This episode made me really appreciate all the little parallels and nuances in 1936 and 2016 storylines. In some ways, you can think of the show as slow, because there aren’t many juicy plot points (only hints of bad mystery guys), but thus far this series has done a nice job of focusing on tiny little details between one time period and another.
We start off with Wang Lin discovering that she has to pay interest on her debt, but she doesn’t have the money to do so. She devises the brilliant plan of disguising Zhi Gang as Qi Long (they look exactly the same after all!) and takes him to the Bank of China. Zhi Gang, being the morally rigid man he is, disagrees with her plan, but is dragged along anyway. In order to withdraw money from Qi Long’s bank account, Zhi Gang has to guess his PIN number. We discover that the two share the same birthday. Later, Zhi Gang helps Wang Lin fight off the thugs who are after her for her grandfather’s debt, and we see Wang Lin slowly fall for him. They’re about to head out for the supermarket together when one of the Sun family’s men arrives and Zhi Gang is taken to the hospital to visit Qi Long’s grandma, who has been refusing to eat and isn’t doing so well. Zhi Gang orders one of the nurses to help him find a place to prepare food. Is he making what I think he’s going to make?
Meanwhile, Qi Long is busy going on a spending spree with all of Zhi Gang’s money. He happens to meet up with Hollywood actor Chen Xun again and they get involved in some shenanigans at a jazz club that refuses to host Chinese people. (Interestingly enough, they only meet each other because Chen Xun almost runs over Fei Fei, and Fei Fei is conveniently out of the picture while Qi Long goes off clubbing…) Afterward, penniless with no working inhaler, no way back to 2016, and no real skills to speak of, Qi Long is at a loss for what to do and laments his situation and that he might never see his grandma again. Grandma! He suddenly comes up with the brilliant idea of finding his grandma, which he is convinced will make everything right again. He sends Fei Fei on a mission to find the richest Zhou family in Shanghai and describes the house. They find the house, which matches Qi Long’s description perfectly, but Fei Fei talks to the elderly woman there and finds out that there is no young girl who lives there: she died long ago. Mysteries? We end with Qi Long struck by a sudden epiphany. But what is this epiphany? (I’m pretty sure it’s related to Fei Fei being the grandma…)
At first, I wasn’t loving this episode as much as the previous one (although it didn’t really regress to the point of the first 3 episodes) because we saw more of Qi Long’s bad side (basically him being a total asshole.) But Fei Fei is a delight and really steals the show with her money-hiding and eagerness to return Uncle Zhang to a right state of mind, and the parallels between the two time periods are super fun to pick out and try to dissect.
It was funny to see the irony in the first part of the episode with Zhi Gang and Qi Long’s similar but vastly different experiences at the Bank of China. Zhi Gang in 2016 receives all the eager welcome that Qi Long expects but doesn’t get in 1936. I also enjoyed the bit where Qi Long heads back to the dumpling stand that slighted him his first day in Shanghai. Upon seeing the “World’s Best” sign on the stand, he criticizes the dumpling seller for his boring dumplings (“World’s best? It’s not even Shanghai’s best!”) and tells him to make spicy ones. The dumpling seller says “no way” but in 2016, Zhi Gang praises Wang Lin’s spicy dumpling-making skills. (She really just cooked some premade “World’s Best” brand dumplings.)
Not much plot happens in each episode, but plenty of character and story development happens, and I like the direction that this series is headed in, with a lot more mysteries and connections to unravel. I really would like to see more of Puff Kuo’s character in here and see how all the romantic plotlines will play out. There’s bound to be plenty of heartbreak with all these cross-time pairings happening. And of course, we still don’t have the answers to who is Mr. Wang? And what sort of role will Chen Xun have moving forward? At this point, he just seems like a bromance pal for Qi Long, a cosmopolitan character who is modern to the point of being beyond his time, which I’m totally okay with. Bromance is always fun.
The ending credit sequences are a big reason why I keep watching this show: they just look so good! This episode features a different ending song and sequence than the previous ones and it’s just making me set high expectations for where this show will go. Here’s to hoping I won’t be let down!