Our leading men can never stay in the time period they’re supposed to be from for long. In this episode, we first get a quick resolution to that killer cliffhanger from the previous episode, more time travel mysteries are revealed, and the plot thickens…
Last we saw, a bomb had just gone off and Zhi Gang was staring at it all with tears in his eyes. But false alarm! In reality, a tire had burst and Shanghai is as wholesome and bustling as usual. Zhi Gang wonders how he could only think of saving himself and his family: he should be thinking of how to save Shanghai from the Japanese and how to limit the casualties.
He meets up with an old government official friend and voices his concerns about Japan. His friend agrees to try and help and Zhi Gang walks home with a smile on his face, knowing that helping China avoid the war is what he’s supposed to do. But we see an ominous, slow-motion shot of his friend in driving by in a car and staring out at Zhi Gang’s smiling face as we hear Wang Lin talk about how despicable this traitorous government official was.
We flash forward to 2016, where Wang Lin is doing her research on the past in a library. In front of her is a newspaper that features a photo of Zhi Gang’s friend, and she exclaims how despicable it was that he sold secrets to Japan. Uh oh. She also finds out that she got the date of the fire wrong: Chen Xun died in a hospital and the actual fire was earlier. She’s desperate to convey this message to Zhi Gang, and manages to convince Qi Long to help her. Qi Long, after bashing her for loving a guy from the past, realizes that he too is in love with Zi Yi.
In 1936, Zhi Gang is walking outside when a random man approaches him and tells him that someone wants to meet him. Zhi Gang resists at first, but the man reveals a hidden gun and coerces Zhi Gang into getting into a car. In 2016, Qi Long is all ready to go, but the moon disappears. Back in 1936, we see that the man who summoned Zhi Gang is none other than Mr. Wang himself.
Mr. Wang reveals that he knows Zhi Gang has talking about Japan attacking and has been keeping an eye on him. He grabs Zhi Gang’s necklace, and then we cut to a shot of Mr. Benzhuang, the Japanese guy, in a car, and cut back to Zhi Gang and Mr. Wang as Wang reveals his own jade necklace. Mr. Wang is shocked to find out that Zhi Gang is not from the future–he sees a lot, but he definitely did not predict this–and then muses, “so he is the person who switched places with you.”
We flash forward to 2016 to this “him”, who yawns and gives up on time traveling for the day. But the moon suddenly starts coming out. Mr. Wang reveals that he had a favor to ask of the 2016-er he thought Zhi Gang was, and that now “things are more complicated.” They’re interrupted by one of his henchmen: an uninvited guest has arrived.
Mr. Wang reminds Zhi Gang that no one can know about their time travel secret because enemies are all around them. When Zhi Gang asks him if he is friend or foe, he only smiles mysteriously in response. Mr. Wang leaves and Zhi Gang promptly switches places with Qi Long. “Why?” Zhi Gang asks. Why does he always time travel in these key moments? Well, blame your not-girlfriend.
Mr. Wang meets with Benzhuang, who hands over a drawing of a jade pendant: the same jade that hangs on necklaces around the time travelers’ necks. It turns out that Benzhuang has been looking for this jade. Wang is playing a dangerous game, working so closely with someone who is an enemy in more ways than one.
Apparently the Yellow Group has an agreement with Benzhuang to find the jade pendants, of which there are 3. Benzhuang is willing to do whatever it takes to find these pendants and acquire the power of time travel. Qi Long makes a noise, which draws Benzhuang’s attention, but before Benzhuang can find him, he’s knocked out and whisked away.
In 2016, Zhi Gang and Wang Lin talk about changing the past, and Wang Lin warns him about the butterfly effect. Zhi Gang asks her to look up Wang Si Ping, aka Mr. Wang, and reveals that there are more time travelers.
The one thing that is really grating on my nerves right now is this show’s absolute failure in terms of the Bechdel Test, especially with regards to Wang Lin. If she isn’t around Zhi Gang, she has zero backbone and is constantly moping about him. It’s like there’s nothing else in her life. Isn’t she supposed to be a master winemaker? What happened to that?
Puff Kuo doesn’t make an appearance in this episode, and as much as I love her, I didn’t really miss her. Her acting thus far has been very stilted. I can’t tell if it’s because she’s trying to speak without her Taiwanese accent, or if trying to portray someone of a different time period is just very difficult for her, or if her character is just written particularly poorly (she is crying in at least 50% of her scenes…) but I think she does much better with the extreme, rom-com type modern roles of Taiwanese dramas than this more subtle and serious historical drama.
This Big Bad Drama with Benzhuang, Wang, and the pendants is pretty intriguing and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see a bit more of this soon.