Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: The Journey from Tonight is White (Ep. 2)

Worlds collide in this episode as a lot of our characters start to meet each other, Zi Jian continues in his hunt for the mysterious artist “Lin,” Ye Bai pursues You Yan, and Huai An forces Ye Bai to think about his artistic future.

Recap

Ye Bai spots You Yan from afar as she walks to class with Shan Shan and starts following them. Shan Shan almost catches him, saying, “I feel like someone is following us,” but doesn’t actually notice him. He starts sketching You Yan’s profile after trying the same ice cream flavor she bought and looking at the book she returned at the library.

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Huai An meets with her uncle, who is worried about putting all their hopes into Ye Bai. What if he doesn’t win the award? Perhaps they should consider one of the artists they’ve worked before in their Primary Colors art magazine, instead. He doesn’t doubt his niece, but they need to put on a good showing for their fall exhibition and now they don’t even have a featured artist. Huai An tells him not to worry: she’ll take care of it.

Professor Lin asks Zi Jian why he is suddenly curious about his classmates’ work. He replies that he recently attended a Yi Xin Gallery event where someone mentioned that there are a lot of new artists changing the art world, and perhaps one of his classmates will be one of those people. Professor Lin continues to heap compliments on Zi Jian, saying he may very well be one of those artists.

Zi Jian suddenly notices one of the paintings, which is just a colorful spiral and different from the other landscapes. He notices that it’s by Lin Zi Yan, and asks Professor Lin about it who responds that Lin Zi Yan does just enough to get by, and wonders if he’ll every be able to accomplish anything in the future. Zi Jian notices that Gu Ye Bai doesn’t have a painting in the collection, and Professor Lin says that he probably didn’t hand it in. It’s clear he doesn’t have a high opinion of Ye Bai, commenting on how it’s strange for a painting major to not actually paint anything.

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Zi Jian returns to looking at Lin Zi Yan’s painting, and remembers that the International Young Artists finalist’s pen name was Lin. Could he be Lin Zi Yan?

He goes to play pick-up basketball with his his friend Long Li. Zi Yan is there, too, and his presence distracts Zi Jian. Zi Jian imagines that Zi Yan is taunting him, and plays disastrously poorly.

Ye Bai hurries back to his riverside easel and does a little prayer to his sketch of You Yan as well as the painting she fixed. He opens his eyes, hoping to see color, but nothing has changed. He looks again at his sketch of You Yan, wondering if he should go talk to her in person.

He makes a call to Huai An to reject her Yi Xin Gallery contract offer. She refuses to let him say no, saying that he doesn’t have to make a decision right away. She is giving him a golden opportunity, perhaps the post-graduation opportunity a painting major can have. Doesn’t he want to have his paintings hung beside great artists like Chi Zheng? This gets his attention. She tells him to keep thinking about it.

After hanging up, Huai An receives an email from Shan Shan asking her to host the upcoming alumni event. She accepts, thinking that it’ll be a good opportunity to visit campus and talk to Ye Bai in person.

Shan Shan celebrates securing a host for her event, then laments to You Yan about how difficult it is to get successful alumni to attend these events, since the most successful ones are also the ones who are the busiest. You Yan asks if her event has to include traditionally successful people, like lawyers and doctors. Their experiences might be applicable to a small group of already-successful students, but most students would not be able to relate to them. What about inviting alumni who chose non-traditional paths after graduating, such as working for non-profits, launching their own start-ups, or backpacking around the world? You Yan is a bit worried about how people will receive a non-traditional mentorship panel like this, but Shan Shan loves the idea and says that she’ll make it work.

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Ye Bai has been exhausting himself, staying up late painting (in monochrome) and sketching You Yan. He falls asleep in a classroom and wakes up the next morning, confused, in the middle of a French class. The professor’s voice startles him into standing up, and he gets called on to answer a question. He stands there awkwardly, but is saved by someone behind him (You Yan) who whispers the correct answers to him. He sits back down and turns to thank her, but right at that moment, she gets called by a friend and turns away, so that all he sees is the back of her head.

The class ends and Ye Bai checks his phone and sees an email from the International Young Artists contest. He rushes off, leaving behind a sketch of You Yan on the desk. You Yan picks it up and wonders who the girl is.

Shan Shan has skipped class to prepare for her event and to meet Huai An. She shows Huai An her plans for the event, and Huai An proceeds to criticize her plans, saying it’s completely unacceptable and misses the point of the mentorship panel. The panel attendees should be individuals whose accomplishments are recognized by society, not people who have found small successes in alternative career paths. Moreover, it would be irresponsible to encourage students to enter alternative professions.

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You Yan arrives in the middle of the conversation and jumps in to help defend Shan Shan’s ideas, but Huai An is very dismissive of both of them, calling them naive. Professor Yu, the faculty adviser for the event, arrives and asks Huai An what she thinks of the event. She immediately brings up her issues with it and offers to help make rearrangements, convincing the professor despite Shan Shan’s protests that Professor Yu had originally approved her proposal.

You Yan comforts Shan Shan, who is upset at Huai An for being so critical and taking over the event, and Professor Yu, for going back on his approval of her plan. She apologizes to You Yan for failing to carry out her good idea, but You Yan says that it’s okay, they can just save this idea for the future. She’s also able to see Huai An’s perspective, and thinks that her changes might not be so bad. Shan Shan comments on how much You Yan’s changed in the time that she was gone.

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Zi Yan tries to get Ye Bai to attend the alumni panel with him, but Ye Bai is falling asleep while brushing his teeth and says he won’t go. Zi Yan says that he really envies secretly talented people like Ye Bai, whom he likens to a wuxia character who lies low, then suddenly reveals his martial arts prowess and defeats all the other martial arts masters. Ye Bai replies that a character like Zi Yan wouldn’t even live past the third episode of such a show. Zi Yan takes that as his cue to leave, but when he gets to the auditorium, he realizes that he’s forgotten his resume. He sends Ye Bai a text, asking him to bring his resume.

Right before the alumni event is about to begin, a wardrobe assistant brings Huai An the dress she is supposed to wear, but it has a big stain on it. Huai An asks who was responsible for preparing the dress, and the assistant names Shan Shan and You Yan. She asks for someone to go get You Yan, and immediately blames her for the dress, saying that You Yan and Shan Shan must have wanted revenge for Huai An rejecting their event idea. You Yan arrives and also gets involved, and starts arguing with Huai An. Upset, You Yan throws the dress at Huai An, who falls over. You Yan immediately goes to her, but Huai An pushes her away.

Zi Jian, bearing a bouquet, arrives just in time to see Huai An on the ground, and rushes to her side. Other people are watching, and whisper that it looks like Shan Shan made the first move. Zi Yan also arrives backstage and enters the room, saying that Shan Shan has a very fiery temper. Shan Shan snaps at them that she didn’t push Huai An.

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Zi Jian says that he heard everything, and clearly blames Shan Shan and You Yan, saying that Huai An was trying to help them by changing their proposal, and that they shouldn’t have responded by taking revenge in such a fashion. You Yan and Shan Shan try to convince them that they didn’t do this, but Zi Yan doesn’t help matters, saying that he’s experienced Shan Shan’s petty rage before. Zi Jian shakes his head in disappointment and turns his attention to Huai An.

At that moment, Ye Bai arrives too, and Huai An immediately takes Zi Jian’s hand off her shoulder. You Yan turns, and she and Ye Bai stare at each other, surprised to meet once again.

It seems like everything gets resolved in some fashion because the event goes on as planned, with Huai An wearing the original outfit she arrived in. After the event ends, groups of students crowd around Huai An and Zi Jian, wanting their advice and attention. Shan Shan asks You Yan to help her bring some things backstage.

Ye Bai notices her going backstage and follows her, saying that he’s been looking for her. She thinks that he’s unhappy with the painting from before, and immediately says that she thought he said he liked the painting when they last might. He says that’s not it, then continues to say that, “I don’t have ill intentions. I’m not a bad guy. I…” and You Yan looks alarmed and tries to leave, but he grabs her shoulders to stop her. “Can you… stay by my side?” Ye Bai asks.

You Yan looks even more alarmed and shies away from his touch. She fumbles along the table trying to inch away from him, which happens to turn on the speakers that connect to the auditorium. Ye Bai starts saying that he wants to understand You Yan and how she views the world, and that only she can make him go back to normal. His words sound a lot like a romantic confession, and get broadcast to the whole auditorium.

You Yan continues to back away from Ye Bai and he continues following her. She bumps into a cabinet and falls, and Ye Bai catches her just in time. She scrambles away from him and tries to leave again, but he bars her way and asks her to meet him that night and give him a chance. She’s his only hope, he says, as he grips her shoulders intensely. At that moment, both Zi Yan and Shan Shan arrive, with Huai An close behind them.

“What are you doing?” Huai An demands. You Yan takes advantage of the distraction and runs away. Ye Bai tries to follow her, but Huai An blocks his way. “Don’t we have things to discuss?” Zi Yan looks nervous for Ye Bai, clearly thinking that this is some sort of love triangle.

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Ye Bai and Huai An meet over coffee. Ye Bai repeats that he won’t sign a contract with Huai An, and asks why she insists on signing him when she is probably capable of signing much better artists. She reveals that she first saw him when she was a junior in college and he was a freshman, painting by the river. She felt that he had a story inside him, a story that allowed him to create paintings that had stories behind them. Ye Bai responds that stories often involve a lot of suffering. But isn’t suffering the source of creativity for a lot of great artists? Huai An asks. He tries to pass himself off as just an art student, not some genius artist, but Huai An won’t hear of it, saying that he is an extraordinary talent. After all, isn’t he a finalist for an international art prize? He seems surprised that she knows, and in a flashback, we see that she found a painting he had left behind and signed as “Lin.” She leaves the contract with him, saying that the future she is giving him is full of opportunities.

Shan Shan learns that Ye Bai was the one who saved You Yan from drowning at the beach, and today, he confessed to her, but You Yan doesn’t know who he is. You Yan tries to convince her that it was all an accident, but Shan Shan says that accidents only happen once, and they have met multiple times now. She asks You Yan what she plans on doing now after being confessed to. Won’t she consider it? She offers to help You Yan find out who the guy is, because she knows his good friend, Zi Yan.

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Zi Yan applauds Ye Bai when he gets back to their room, admiring his ability to confess to a girl and go on an off-campus date with an older woman on the same day. He asks for more details, but Ye Bai ignores him, instead muttering that he won’t be able to find her. Zi Yan reveals that he can help find You Yan, because he knows her best friend. Ye Bai intensely asks Zi Yan to help him find her.

The next morning, everyone is talking about Ye Bai’s confession to You Yan, but no one seems to know the exact identities of the people involved. Shan Shan has figured out Ye Bai’s name, and shows You Yan a picture she took of him.

At the same time, Zi Yan has found out You Yan’s identity, and even tracked down her dorm. He texts the info to Ye Bai, who immediately goes to wait for her on the street below her building. You Yan sees him from afar and immediately hides, then decides to go to the library instead of back to her dorm in order to avoid him.

Shan Shan still heads back to their dorm, and decides to talk to Ye Bai to judge him for herself. She decides that he’s hopelessly bad at chasing girls and gives up on him as a lost cause and doesn’t help him contact You Yan.

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You Yan sits around idly at the library, waiting for Shan Shan to report back that Ye Bai has left. She needs to go back and get something from her dorm before going to her part-time job. Two of Ye Bai’s junior classmates see him standing in front of You Yan’s dorm and ask him if he’s looking for her. They tell him that they saw her at the library, and he hurries to go find her. Shan Shan reports to You Yan that Ye Bai has left, and she rushes to go back to her dorm.

On the stairs of the library, they literally run into each other and then stare.

Thoughts

This drama is starting to grow on me a little more, with a lot of fun and cute moments in the episode (like Zi Jian getting his feathers ruffled by Zi Yan during the pick-up basketball game). I like that the focus isn’t all on the main couple, and that we also get to look at the strong friendships that each of our main characters have. That’s one of the main appeals of school/youth dramas for me, and I like that The Endless Love is active about showing that.

I still find Ye Bai remarkably boring and his acting unconvincing, but his awkward antics and encounter with You Yan made me laugh. That moment toward the beginning of the episode when he wonders if he should actually try to talk to You Yan in person was a bit of a laugh out loud moment for me, and his awkward, broadcast interaction with You Yan backstage was such a classic rom-com drama moment, but still fun.

You Yan continues to grow on me as a character. She’s easy to like, and An Yue Xi has a wonderfully expressive face when it comes to being cheerful and optimistic. You Yan does seem to be a bit of a can-do-no-wrong, “perfect” character, but in a down-to-earth way.

I’m a bit disappointed to see the uglier sides of Huai An and Zi Jian in this episode, since I want to like them. Huai An seems like the type of person who only associates herself with the people worth her time–the powerful, successful, or talented–and was so immediately dismissive of Shan Shan and You Yan and so insistent in believing they wanted to take revenge on her that it was very off-putting. I wanted her to be better than that! Plus, it seemed ridiculous that a dirty dress got blown so out of proportion. But I also get the impression that she has a very cut-throat way of viewing the world.

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