Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Quick Recap: Shuttle Love Millennium (Ep. 8)

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Wow, things have escalated and just got much more exciting.

Recap

In 2016 Shanghai, Zhi Gang asks Wang Lin to help him go find Qi Long’s grandmother, thinking that she holds the key to figuring out why he is going back and forth.

In 1936, Qi Long figures out that it’s the wine that is causing the time travel. But after drinking a glass of wine, nothing happens. (?!)

He finds Uncle Fang familiar when he sees a picture of Zhi Gang, Zi Yi, and Uncle Fang. But before he can think much more, Zi Yi walks in and starts asking him questions about her father and crying about it. He decides to tell her the truth, but she throws her tea in his face and refuses to believe him, thinking that he’s just trying to mess with her.

Zi Yi goes alone to the Purple Rain Forest restaurant and demands to see whoever is in charge. The boss crony agrees to meet her and shows her a contract signing the Purple Rain Forest over to the Yellow Gang. He offers her a ride home, but she refuses and walks away.

Qi Long is stuck in 1936 once again, and decides to pay his dumpling stand friend a visit. He gives him a letter to be delivered in 80 years on that exact date.

In 2016, Zhi Gang attempts to go visit Grandma but finds out that she’s been taken in for testing. Wang Lin isn’t permitted to go up to Grandma’s suites, and she wanders the hospital. A patient is pushed by in a hospital bed and he reaches out and grabs her wrist: we see that it’s Grandpa Wang/Mr. Wang (!) He’s pushed into an elevator and sits up so that we see his face, but the elevator doors close and Wang Lin just misses him.

Wang Lin decides to take Zhi Gang on a modern day adventure and show him the 2016 life. She shows him how to use a cell phone, and takes him on the bus. They visit a makeup store where Zhi Gang sees Wang Lin looking wistfully at a lipstick that she doesn’t buy. He notices that there’s a darts game outside the store, which he plays with his perfect martial arts skills and wins some makeup prizes for Wang Lin. He watches as she applies the lipstick and a little heart pops up on the screen: he’s falling in love!

They end up going to a Shanghai History Museum where they watch a documentary that shows the 1937 Battle of Shanghai and subsequent Japanese occupation. He is distraught when the documentary zooms in the bombed-out remains of Blue Moon and the portrait of Zi Yi and Uncle Fang.

Grandma finds out that she has a malignant brain tumor and likely has late stage cancer. The doctor predicts that she has only 3 to 5 months to live. The doctor wants to inform her family, but she reminds him of their secret agreement and only asks that he help her survive the next three months, which seem to be vital for some reason. She’s sitting on the rooftop garden when Grandpa Wang runs by. Grandma recognizes him as Mr. Wang, but he seems to have dementia or something and shakes her, demanding “Do you know who I am? Who are you?” Grandma has a flashback to a memory of Mr. Wang shaking her, demanding the same question, “Who are you?”

Zhi Gang arrives on the rooftop garden at that moment and starts running toward her. She flashes back again to a parallel memory, in which she is in Mr. Wang’s grasp as he cocks the gun in his hand, and Qi Long is running toward her, shouting her name, just as Zhi Gang is in this moment in 2016. In the memory, she falls to the ground, and in the present, she faints.

Thoughts

What is happening?! Things have escalated in this episode in a very exciting way and the story is clipping along at a great pace.

First we find out that the time travel catalyst is not the wine. That was a great red herring, but then what is the catalyst?

I really like how this show mixes some heartwarming everyday moments with some key scenes that move the plot along. There are a lot of heavy moments ahead, but also a lot of lightness so that the drama is weighed down by tragedy and tears. I guess in light of the perpetually serious Zhi Gang and eternally teary Zi Yi, it’s nice to have the fast-talking Qi Long and feisty Wang Lin to lighten the mood, even if they are oh-so-often annoying (although definitely more bearable in this episode–we get to see the better sides of both.)

One thing that this show toys with and makes unclear is how much of the present is a product of Qi Long’s actively messing with the past, and how much is just “meant to be” or fate. Is Qi Long going back actually changing anything, or is it simply fate and following the path and timeline that was always meant to be, even if it is warping time?

We’re seeing some scenes (especially in this preview) that hint at some potentially tragic endings for some of our characters. How much of this is set in stone, and how much of this will the time traveling mess with and change? Is any of it changeable? What is the significance of this three month, 100 day deadline that Grandma has set, and what place does Mr. Wang/Grandpa Wang have in all of this?

With all these big reveals, I’m just hoping that the pacing of the rest of the show will be good enough to fill the next 20 episodes without too much drag or melodrama.

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