Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: The Journey from Tonight is White (Ep. 7)

The drama really starts to escalate in episode 7 of The Journey from Tonight is White (路从今夜白) now that Zi Jian has figured out Lin’s identity and his sister is starting to get involved. Meanwhile, Ye Bai decides to finally be completely honest with You Yan, with some rewarding results.

Recap

Ye Bai and You Yan go back to the beach where they first met, with You Yan dressed in the same outfit she was wearing that day. She tries to trigger his memory by reenacting the scene from that day, and her antics make him smile but don’t trigger his color vision. Nevertheless, they have some pretty scenes just sitting together by the shore. At one point, they accidentally look at each other the same time and quickly look away, but each smile shyly.

That night, You Yan remains optimistic, saying they can experiment more tomorrow to try to help Ye Bai regain his sight. He tells her not to worry too much — he’s already made plans for the worst-case scenario. This makes her pause, but he bids her good night and she leaves. He sighs and looks after her sadly.

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At Chez Wei, Zi Jian’s sister is irritated by a phone call with some incompetent individual who can’t find someone. (Who could that be? I have a guess — who Lin is.) She tells the person to not bother anymore — she’ll figure it out.

You Yan and Shan Shan are reading in bed that night when Zi Yan knocks at their door. Ye Bai isn’t back yet, and he’s worried. You Yan rushes out to help him look for Ye Bai.

She ends up at the beach they were at earlier that day, and thinks back on his words of having prepared for the worst-case scenario. She thinks of the worst, and starts shouting his name desperately.

Suddenly, she seems him sitting on the railing of the pier, his legs hanging out over the water. She dashes over and asks him what he’s doing and demands that he get down. She runs up onto the pier and asks him why he’s here, about to jump into the ocean, when he clearly told her that he liked her.

His eyes widen — so she knows! He thought she hadn’t heard his confession in his apartment the other day. He smiles, while she continues to look angry. He hops down from the railing and asks if she was really that worried about him. “Of course!” she responds, then mutters, “You’re driving me crazy” and turns to stalk off.

Ye Bai grabs her wrist and whirls her into a hug. “How can I jump into the ocean when you haven’t fallen in love with me yet?” He asks.

Zi Jian looks antsy and a bit disheveled as he dances around while waiting for You Yan at the base of her dorm building in the morning. Xiao Cong exits the dorm and immediately recognizes him as her secret crush. He looks up and recognizes her as You Yan’s roommate. He asks her about You Yan, and she thinks for a moment before carefully responding that You Yan went to the shore with Ye Bai. Zi Jian doesn’t look happy about this and thanks Xiao Cong before rushing off. She thinks sadly that he’ll never really notice her, and never find out that she’s actually the one who wrote him the love letter.

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At the beach, You Yan and Ye Bai lie next to each other on the sand and look up at the sky. Shan Shan and Zi Yan spot them from afar. Zi Yan moves to shout a greeting to them, but Shan Shan stops him and instead they sit and watch them conspiratorially. They’re looking pretty chummy themselves. They bicker about You Yan and Ye Bai as well as tease each other about their singleness and how no one would ever chase after them, but look away and smile when their hands accidentally touch.

There’s only a week left before Ye Bai’s submission for the contest is due, so You Yan persuades him to go wander the island. Perhaps he can find some inspiration. She stands up and turns to see Shan Shan and Zi Yan looking pretty close to each other while watching them. She shouts a greeting and asks if they want to join her and Ye Bai on a walk around the island. Shan Shan refuses, saying her leg still hurts, while Zi Yan claims that he has to stay behind and care for her. Both couples smile knowingly as Ye Bai and You Yan go off.

Ye Bai and You Yan find a small playground set where a family is playing with their toddler on the slides. They sit on some swings and watch them. You Yan comments that she liked to play on slides when she was young, too. Ye Bai says that he never played on one. She asks him what he liked to play on, and he responds that his family didn’t live close to a playground.

You Yan asks him about his family, saying that she’s never heard him mention them before. He looks a bit sad and starts to respond, but sensing that it’s a sensitive subject, You Yan gets up and says that they should go explore the island some more.

The child is still playing on the slide, but now without his parents’ supervision. He starts to fall as Ye Bai and You Yan walk by, and Ye Bai catches him, saying, “You almost fell into outer space!” As he hands the kid off to his grateful parents, his words trigger a memory for You Yan.

She was playing on a playground when she fell off the side of a slide, but was saved by a young Ye Bai who says, “Were you trying to fly into outer space?” Young You Yan asks, “Does this slide lead into outer space?” But young Ye Bai doesn’t respond and instead returns to his hiding place under a slide and continues working on a drawing. You Yan runs over to her mother, Chi Zheng, saying, “Mama, look! There’s a boy drawing over there,” and points to Ye Bai’s hiding place.

Back in the present, You Yan asks Ye Bai to repeat what he said to the little boy he saved. He chuckles and says, “I said that I like you,” and starts walking away. (Ah, cute!) It’s not what You Yan expected to hear, and she makes a face at his retreating back before covering her face.

Zi Jian goes to Yi Xin, where he confronts Huai An about Lin’s true identity, showing her his work from class side-by-side with the stylistically similar piece in Primary Colors. Huai An admits that he’s right, which gets Zi Jian even more worked up, now that his suspicions are confirmed. He’s unable to accept that Ye Bai, someone who doesn’t seem to care about school at all, is Lin. Huai An reminds Zi Jian of what she had told him before, that some people don’t show their talent, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Zi Jian looks defeated at having misjudged Ye Bai this whole time, yet he’s also unable to accept that the person he lost to was Ye Bai. Huai An tries to reassure him that he is also extremely talented, and tells him that being able to lose gracefully is also a kind of success. Zi Jian doesn’t seem to want to hear this. Not only did he lose to Ye Bai in the art contest, but he also lost to him in signing a contract with Yi Xin.

You Yan sets up an easel for Ye Bai in a meadow that we’ve seen them each in earlier in the show. She seems pretty familiar with the island, so Ye Bai asks her if she’s been there before as a tourist. She nods, but wonders if she should tell him the truth. Before she can make a decision, he admits that he was able to see some color the night before, probably because he was able to be honest with himself about his true feelings.

Ye Bai is ready to tell You Yan about his family, and asks if she’s willing to listen to him. He tells her that his dad died when he was young. His mom was single and the only breadwinner in the family, so life was tough, but he had an older brother who cared for him, and they loved each other. But later…

We flash to a fuller version of the fragmented images that have tortured Ye Bai for so long. It’s a rainy day. The crosswalk light turns green. A red car brakes and its tires squeal. We here a thump and a young Ye Bai screams, “Mom!” A black umbrella falls to the ground. The red car’s headlights are stained with blood. Paramedics run across the road carrying stretchers with Ye Bai’s brother and mother on them, while a nurse tries to comfort a sobbing Ye Bai.

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In the present, Ye Bai tells You Yan that a car accident took his family away from him. He asks her if she understands the feeling of waking up one day and realizing that your house is cold and empty and that you’re the only one left. Since then, he’s basically raised himself, and makes art every day to distract himself from thoughts of his family. But no matter how he tries to hide from it, the truth is that he has no family left in this world. He compares himself to a lonely island.

You Yan takes his hand and says that islands aren’t that lonely. Every day they can feel the sun and ocean, and the ocean life and seabirds are always circling it. They may be alone, but they aren’t lonely.

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He smiles at her words of comfort and draws her into a hug, saying that now, he feels like he isn’t alone anymore. She smiles and says that of course he isn’t alone anymore. He has her, and Zi Yan, and other friends who care about him, and life will get better for him with time.

For a moment, it looks like they’re about to kiss, but then Ye Bai’s phone rings and they separate awkwardly. It’s a call from Huai An, asking him when he’ll give her an answer. After he finishes his painting for the contest, he responds. And how is that going? Ye Bai looks at You Yan and doesn’t respond. “What’s wrong?” You Yan asks. He lowers his phone: he knows what he wants to paint for his contest submission. Ye Bai tells Huai An that he wants to paint a full-color painting of her. He can finally see ALL the colors!

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On the other end of the line, Huai An thinks she hears You Yan’s voice before Ye Bai starts responding. Why is she there?

Zi Jian has finished a piece of his own, but seems unhappy with it. His sister walks in, and he tries to get her to leave him alone, but she insists on hanging around. She asks him about his painting, and he says that he spent a lot of time on it, but is worried about whether others will like it. She tells him that he should put himself out there so that even those who don’t approve of his work will approve of him. She tells him to let her know if he needs her help. She’ll help him. But internally he tells himself that he will use his talent to prove himself.

His sister asks him if he knows who the International Young Artists finalist is. Zi Jian wonders if he should tell his sister, but ends up pretending that he was too busy to care about things like that. His sister tsks at him and says that all artists are the same, not caring about the competition and caring only about themselves. She tells him not to worry — she’ll investigate for him. She’ll have to think long and hard about how to deal with this individual. She doesn’t want anyone to threaten Zi Jian’s place as the top young artist.

Zi Jian looks troubled and sighs heavily after she leaves.

Ye Bai finishes his painting — one of You Yan sitting by the shore. She loves the painting so much that he says he’ll paint another one and give it to her, but she doesn’t let him finish and throws her arms around his neck, telling him how happy she is to see him finally finish the painting after trying for so long. She says that they should hurry and ship the painting to the judges and starts to run off, but Ye Bai holds her wrist to stop her. She turns and asks what’s wrong, and he says, “Nothing, I just suddenly don’t want to leave this place.” She tells him they can come back together in the future.

They take a walk on the beach before they leave the island. Ye Bai talks about how the prestige of the International Young Artists award doesn’t really matter to him. He wants to win because it’s been a long-time dream of his, and also a way for him to pay respects to his former art teacher, who discovered him and gave him the inspiration and encouragement to work toward his artistic dream. You Yan wonders at how important this art teacher must be to Ye Bai.

Zi Jian goes to Yi Xin to show Huai An his most recent painting. She compliments his work, saying he has improved a lot, but it’s not quite up to her standards for the Yi Xin Gallery. She encourages him to find other galleries to submit it to, but she really can’t help him this time.

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Zi Jian’s sister meets with Huai An’s uncle, wielding her powerful corporate position (her company sponsors exhibitions at Yi Xin) to coerce him into revealing Lin’s true identity.

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You Yan carefully wraps Ye Bai’s painting at his apartment. She asks him to grab some more wrapping paper. He moves to do so, but gets distracted by the book with the French quote sticky note he was looking at a few episodes back. He looks intently at You Yan’s back, wondering if she is the one to lead him out of the darkness.

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Zi Jian walks dejectedly out of Yi Xin, where his sister is waiting outside. She asks him what he’s doing there, and lectures him about how this is the most important time of the year for him. He’s just about to graduate and needs to be on top of things. He can’t be wandering around in a daze like this. She offers to drive him to school.

During the car ride, she asks him why he’s so fixated on Yi Xin — she agrees with Huai An in that he should find other galleries to display his work, but for the most part, she seems to look down on Huai An, wondering why she has so much authority and why Zi Jian places so much value on her opinion when she’s only a few years out of school. He should have his art displayed in other galleries to show Huai An what she’s missing out on. Then she asks him if he knows Gu Ye Bai. She reveals that she’s found out that Ye Bai is Lin. He has an older brother named Gu Ye Lin, which is why he adopted the pen name Lin.

Zi Jian spots Ye Bai and You Yan on the side of the road and asks his sister to stop the car. He gets out and greets them, then asks what they’re doing. You Yan reveals that they’re going to ship Ye Bai’s submission for the art contest.

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Zi Jian’s sister notes that Ye Bai is carrying an art case — it looks exactly like Zi Jian’s — and tells Zi Jian that she’ll give his classmates a ride. They try to refuse, but the sister insists on it, and they get in. The car ride is a bit tense, with Zi Jian and Ye Bai each passive aggressively trying to insist that they cannot compare to the other.

They pull up to the shipping company right as the last delivery truck is about to leave. Ye Bai and You Yan rush out of the car to try to stop them, while Zi Jian and his sister watch. Zi Jian’s sister tells him to stop staring and bring Ye Bai’s painting over to them. She has to leave because of some business at the company. She pulls a case out of her car trunk and hands it over to Zi Jian, and watches him run it over with a knowing smile on her face.

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Thoughts

Oh no, that evil smile on Zi Jian’s sister’s face cannot be good. I’m pretty sure that she put Zi Jian’s own painting in his hands in order to sabotage Ye Bai. The drama made it pretty obvious by focusing so much on the case when Zi Jian put it into his sister’s car. On the one hand, I’m relieved that Zi Jian isn’t the one to plan this nefarious plot, but on the other, this is such a classic, evil drama move and it’s both addicting and infuriating!

Zi Jian’s sister as a whole just seems like a completely ruthless, irredeemable person. The moment she started taking an interest in figuring out who Zi Jian’s competition was, I knew that things would start to get a lot more difficult for Ye Bai. This is drama land, of course, so we have to have characters like these, but it just frustrates me so much that she thinks taking down the competition is the way to position Zi Jian as the best. Especially in the art world, where judgment comes from the viewers, an artist should prove one’s worth through their own skill and work (to echo that artist from the first episode), not through being able to eliminate the competition. This isn’t some sort of one-on-one sport!

Zi Jian’s sister is turning out to be much more of a villain than Huai An. I really dislike how she is clearly out for blood when it comes to You Yan, and manipulative when it comes to Ye Bai, but I also really respected that scene in this episode when she staunchly supported Ye Bai yet was also able to give Zi Jian reasonable and encouraging advice when he came to confront her, once again, about displaying his work at Yi Xin. I respect her views on the different kinds of talent, ability, and success when it comes to comparing Ye Bai and Zi Jian, and really like how she explicitly told Zi Jian that Ye Bai’s success doesn’t mean anything for Zi Jian. He should just focus on himself. I hope he can really absorb her words given that his sister seems to have the exact opposite philosophy.

Zi Jian’s development as a whole is something I’m really enjoying watching. I’m glad that we get to see him under some real strain and pressure, because it gives some more depth and complexity to his character. His struggle is a lot more convincing to me than Ye Bai’s ever was.

This episode gave us a lot of classic drama moves: such as that tidbit of memory where You Yan remembers some boy catching her as she fell from a slide when she was a child. Of course they met before when they were young. I can’t remember the last drama I watched that didn’t involve some sort of childhood connection. Really puts into perspective that (very likely fake, but viral) internet statistic about most people having met their future partner by age 16. These cliché drama moments are so groan-worthy and frustrating, but they are also what keep me hooked and keep me coming back for more.

But this childhood memory of You Yan’s is also interesting, because it seems like it might be from before Ye Bai and Chi Zheng’s first meeting. It seems like this is the first time that Chi Zheng notices Ye Bai, thanks to You Yan. Does this suggest that You Yan is actually the one to indirectly introduce Ye Bai to both Chi Zheng and art? If so, then it’s quite fitting and fateful that they meet again now, and You Yan is the one to give Ye Bai fresh artistic inspiration.

Ye Bai is so much better when he’s not feeling sorry for himself, and I really liked that he opened up fully to You Yan in this episode. The way the episode ended suggests that he’s about to encounter a lot more struggle, but hopefully now that he’s allowed You Yan into his shell, they’ll be able to confront these issues together in a supportive way. The two definitely had more cute moments this episode, so I’ll take a little less issue with them as a couple, and hopefully the drama can keep their relationship healthy even as it succumbs to other clichés of evil, villainous twists.

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