Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: The Journey from Tonight is White (Ep. 5)

Our classic drama love square starts to take shape in this episode, as Zi Jian starts to take more of an interest in You Yan and Ye Bai starts to act a bit more possessive. Also, I’m going to start referring to this drama by the more direct translation of its Chinese name, The Journey from Tonight is White, rather than The Endless Love because I really dislike those generic, meaningless titles and this one fits much more!

Recap

You Yan tells Ye Bai how she had a great conversation with Zi Jian at Yi Xin, although she really wished she were able to talk to him longer about her favorite Chi Zheng painting, which she calls “Sunshine Girl.” Ye Bai drops his palette at the mention of Chi Zheng, then proceeds to start spewing facts about Chi Zheng at You Yan, trying to prove that he, too, knows a lot about Chi Zheng — possibly more than Zi Jian.

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You Yan asks him if they’re still going to paint today, but he says no, and asks her to take a walk with him instead. He takes her to an amusement park, which used to be a children’s palace (kind of like a youth community center). He credits this place with making him who he is today: he was never really good at traditional subjects, but here, he learned how to make art. To him, art is life.

He flashes back to a memory of being in Chi Zheng’s art class as a child. A fellow classmate made fun of his drawing and crumpled it up, but Chi Zheng came over and complimented Ye Bai’s work, even if it wasn’t conventional.

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You Yan comments that in art, there are not shortcuts. The closest one can get to a shortcut is diligent practice. Behind every great artist are countless hours of practice. Ye Bai stares at her: Chi Zheng once said the exact same thing to him.

You Yan notices him staring and asks what’s wrong. He tells her that she reminds him a lot of someone he once knew.  Whenever he got nervous or stressed, he would come here and listen to her talk, and it would help him relax. It’s just a pity that… he trails off. You Yan asks him, “A pity that what?” but he changes the subject and asks her if she wants to go on the carousel.

You Yan has the time of her life on the carousel while Ye Bai clings on for dear life. He’s dizzy and stumbling once he gets off — it looks like they won’t be painting today. But, he says, he’s going to clean up his apartment. That way, they’ll have a place to paint other than the studio, and someone won’t be locked out of it for hours during a storm.

You Yan offers to help clean up, and they go to his apartment (which is really nice!) She compliments his space, but says that it could use some color. They end up hanging a blue canvas on one of the white walls. You Yan notices his numerous books and asks him if he’s read all of them. He responds that not only has he read them, he’s memorized them, including their positions on the shelves. She notices that he has some French books as well, including Le Petit Prince, which is one her favorites. Ye Bai replies that his mother taught him some French when he was young.

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Zi Jian looks at the class rankings on his laptop while thinking back to Huai An’s words about how intriguing it must be to have some competition from a classmate of his. He recalls Ye Bai’s surprising skill during their class outside, and Zi Yan’s words about hanging onto any paintings that Ye Bai throws away. It’s clear that he thinks Ye Bai is Lin.

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Ye Bai walks You Yan home that night. They arrange to meet the next day after breakfast, which You Yan reminds him not to skip. They spend some time hanging around outside her building, neither quite wanting to be the first to say bye. Finally, Ye Bai says that he’ll watch her go, and she finally leaves.

Shan Shan saw some of the exchange downstairs and waits in ambush with Xiao Cong for You Yan to return to their room. They’re convinced that she’s secretly started dating Ye Bai without telling them, and demand that she spill the details. You Yan insists that she and Ye Bai are just friends, and tells them how she’s just helping them out. They wonder what’s so good about Ye Bai — she isn’t just dating him out of pity is she? You Yan again insists they’re just friends, but she admits that she finds him attractive and that he’s pretty talented.

The next morning, Ye Bai remembers You Yan’s words about how much she likes Sunshine Girl and decides to call the gallery to ask about its price. But they tell him some news that makes him drop everything and run out of his room. He calls You Yan to cancel their plans, saying that something urgent came up.

He ends up at the Yi Xin Gallery, asking about who bought Sunshine Girl. The curator at the gallery responds that there must have been a miscommunication, because no one bought the painting. It was removed from display for repairs. Ye Bai leaves his contact information, asking them to contact him when it returns to the gallery.

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On his way out, he runs into Huai An. She asks if he was looking for her, then says that she was looking for him. Her uncle wasn’t happy about him not being able to give an estimate for when he would be able to get his draft in for Primary Colors. If he isn’t able to produce something by next month, they might drop his contract and sign another artist. Huai An asks if he has some time to talk about it and convinces him to get coffee with her.

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Zi Jian is playing pick-up basketball with his friends when he gets a text from his older sister, telling him to meet him at her office. He leaves, looking tense, and takes a deep breath before walking into her building.

She’s called him there to ask about the International Young Artists award and to express her disappointment that not only was he not selected as a finalist (and one of his classmates was), but that he was eliminated in the preliminary rounds. She and his father let him choose this artistic path because he said he could be the best, and now he can’t even win this award? Zi Jian takes her tirade with a stony face, then asks, “Haven’t I always disappointed you?” and leaves.

He tries to paint outside, but is too angry and ends up knocking everything to the ground. He takes out the bookmark painted by Chi Zheng that You Yan gave him and thinks back to that day in the gallery.

You Yan has been moping around her room all day now that her plans with Ye Bai have been cancelled. She suddenly gets a phone call from Zi Jian, asking her if she’s free. She asks him if anything’s wrong, and he says that he’s not in a great mood and wanted to find a peaceful place to paint. He asks if she’d be willing to model for him. She’s hesitant at first, but agrees to help him.

They meet at a restaurant, where You Yan asks him why he was feeling down earlier. He tries to pass it off as just senior year blues. You Yan understands, but tries to reassure him by saying that he’s so talented that he’s sure to find a good job. He smiles but seems unconvinced.

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Huai An takes Ye Bai to the coffee shop where she first gave him the Yi Xin contract. She says that her uncle requires a concrete time estimate for when Ye Bai will be able to finish his artwork, and a valid reason. If he’s not happy with Ye Bai’s answer, they will find a different artist. Ye Bai cryptically says that he’ll give his response in two days — he won’t have time until then — and abruptly leaves.

Huai An quickly follows him and asks him why he won’t sign with her when he clearly wants people to see his art — why else would he publish his work in Primary Colors? Ye Bai responds that not everyone pursues art for the sake of fame, and turns to leave when he suddenly stops upon seeing You Yan. You Yan stares back at him, and Huai An takes this opportunity to take a possessive hold of Ye Bai’s arm.

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You Yan approaches them and greets Huai An while looking at their interlocked arms. Ye Bai extracts himself, then quickly explains — without being asked — that they’re talking business. You Yan starts to leave, but then Zi Jian comes over with a drink for her and greets Huai An.

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Huai An asks Zi Jian if he’s out on a date with You Yan. They’re both quick to deny it, and Zi Jian explains that You Yan is modeling for him. Ye Bai’s eyes sharpen. “Model?” he asks. You Yan starts to try to explain, then wonders why he’s getting angry when he was the one to cancel on her first. She hasn’t done anything wrong, so she replies saying that she was suddenly free so she decided to help out Zi Jian.

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Ye Bai inhales deeply, glares at Zi Jian, who stares back unwaveringly, and then leaves. Huai An follows after him, trying to get him to accept a ride from her, but he refuses and walks off on his own. She sighs and stares after him.

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Ye Bai ends up by a lake, where he stares out with his color-blind sight and sighs in frustration as he recalls his latest doctor’s appointment. His condition has been worsening, and his doctor urged that he halt all stressful activities. His doctor asked him if he found the girl, and he admitted that he did. Originally, he thought that her mixing colors for him would help him recover his color vision, but soon he found that it was actually interacting with her that helped him recover.

Zi Jian takes You Yan to the rooftop patio he was painting at before. She sits for him and he starts to paint, while she thinks about how beautiful the location is and that she’ll bring Ye Bai here next time to give him some fresh inspiration. Thinking about him makes her frown and she wonders if he’s angry, then starts texting him.

Ye Bai receives You Yan’s text, which simply asks if they’ll still meet to paint that day. He smiles and responds arranging to meet at night. Upon receiving the text, You Yan’s mood suddenly brightens, which makes Zi Jian put down his brush. You Yan asks him what’s wrong, and he responds that he can’t paint when his model’s mood fluctuates so quickly. She apologizes for not being able to control her expressions, but he says that he shouldn’t be taking up her weekend when she clearly has other things she could be doing. He offers to drive her to her next appointment.

It’s dark by the time they get on the road. You Yan sits in Zi Jian’s car with his jacket draped over her. Earlier, she accidentally spilled paint on her white shirt while trying to help him clean up. She tried to wash her shirt, but the water just made it sheer, so Zi Jian gave her his jacket in a very gentleman-like fashion. She winces in embarrassment at the memory.

Zi Jian drops her off by the lake where Ye Bai is waiting, then exits the car to bring her a backpack that she left behind, resulting in a tense face-off with Ye Bai. Ye Bai grabs You Yan’s wrist, pulling her to his side, and thanks Zi Jian for dropping You Yan off. Zi Jian responds that they’re classmates, so it’s pretty normal, but that Ye Bai should treat You Yan better. He steps in and frees You Yan’s wrist from Ye Bai’s grasp.

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They start talking about You Yan modeling for them both, with Ye Bai mentioning how he asked You Yan first, and Zi Jian saying that it doesn’t really matter who was first. There’s a strong, tense undercurrent to their conversation, which You Yan senses. She puts her hand between them, telling them to stop. She thanks Zi Jian for dropping her off, then says goodbye. Zi Jian smiles at her and says farewell. He starts to leave as well, but Ye Bai stops him. He returns Zi Jian’s jacket to him, then proceeds to drape his own jacket around You Yan, saying that You Yan is his model and he can take care of her. He gently turns her and leads her away. Zi Jian watches them walk away with a sigh.

You Yan sits for Ye Bai at his apartment and asks him if he was angry earlier. He denies it, but looks a bit sullen when You Yan comments that things seemed tense between him and Zi Jian. You Yan makes a face, puts in her earphones, and starts reading Le Petit Prince.

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Ye Bai watches her for a moment and says her name, but she doesn’t hear him over her music, so he starts talking to her out loud. He admits that he was mad, but he doesn’t know why. Well… maybe he does know. Ever since that love letter at the basketball court, to when she said that she had a great conversation with Zi Jian at the art gallery, he’s been mad. There are a lot more important things he should be doing, yet he’s here, painting her. He doesn’t know what to do about her, but he’s gotten used to having her around him. He’s started to like her.

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He says those words right as You Yan’s song ends. Her eyes widen and she takes out her earphones, asking Ye Bai, “What did you just say?”

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Thoughts

UGH! I really hated all that male posturing toward the end of the episode, mainly on Ye Bai’s part. I guess some people like those kinds of scenes where two guys passive aggressively fight over a girl they both like, but the way Ye Bai acted just turned me off so much! I have to side with Zi Jian after this one — I did not like the wrist-grabbing or the possessive “You Yan is mine” thing that Ye Bai had going on.

As a whole, I liked Zi Jian a lot more after this episode, which I’m glad about because I wanted to like him from the start. He’s really starting to take on more of the nice, understanding, second lead role, which will be sad and heartbreaking for him (and me!) but is always so much better to have in a drama than some petty, villainous guy.

And can we talk about Wei Zi Jian’s sister for a moment? Some people have tiger moms, but he has a tiger sister. She is vicious and relentless and it makes a lot more sense why Zi Jian is so hard on himself and so secretly competitive. But it also makes me like and respect him just a bit more as a character, knowing that he comes from such a vicious family and can still be a pretty nice guy. (Unless he’s just been faking the nice part this whole time.)

I do think Zi Jian’s initial interest in You Yan is purely because of Ye Bai, but I also am fairly certain that he will start liking You Yan for who she is. Already, we’ve seen a bit of that. He contacted her in his moment of vulnerability, not because he wanted to antagonize Ye Bai, but because he was feeling down and he remembered how she was so bright and made him feel happy.

I haven’t been loving Ye Bai at all so far this drama, and I am still rather unimpressed with him. The show is trying to make him this cold, broody character, but it doesn’t seem to fit quite right and his gestures are less romantic and more douchey. Of course, perhaps that means it’s more true to real life? Because in real life, cold broodiness is hardly attractive.

Besides my qualms with Ye Bai’s character, the drama is still clipping along at a good pace and doesn’t have any real red flags yet. I’m entertained and eagerly awaiting to see where it takes us next!

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