Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: The Journey from Tonight is White (Ep. 9)

This episode is a nerve-wracking one as everyone eagerly awaits the results of the International Young Artists competition. Zi Jian continues on his redemptive arc, and we get a couple of blasts from Ye Bai and You Yan’s pasts that may affect their future.

Recap

You Yan, Ye Bai, Zi Jian, and Huai An leave the restaurant where they were having dinner. Huai An convinces Zi Jian to walk You Yan home, despite Ye Bai’s protests, saying that she has something to discuss with Ye Bai.

Huai An once again tries to convince Ye Bai to sign with her. He still refuses, and brings up Zi Jian as another reasonable candidate for her gallery, but she says that he is her dream. Ye Bai thanks her again for her help in getting his submission to France on time, but repeats that he does not want to sign a contract. He comes up with a different proposal: he’s willing to give Yi Xin the sole rights to sell and auction off all the works he’s submitted to Primary Colors. Huai An adds a caveat of her own: if he wins the top prize at the international competition, then he must agree to hold a solo exhibition at Yi Xin. That shouldn’t be asking too much, right? Ye Bai agrees.

While walking You Yan back to her dorm, Zi Jian takes this opportunity to ask her if she’s noticed anything off with Ye Bai. She’s quick to say that she hasn’t noticed anything wrong with Ye Bai. They reach the bottom of You Yan’s dorm building, where Chi Pu is waiting for her. Zi Jian takes his leave.

Once he’s gone, Chi Pu comments on how You Yan has been very popular lately. You Yan says that Zi Jian is just a classmate, but Chi Pu recognizes him as art major Wei Zi Jian. You Yan is a French major. You Yan responds that Zi Jian is just a school friend. If Zi Jian is a school friend, then what is Gu Ye Bai? Chi Pu asks. You Yan avoids answering the question, asking, “What about Gu Ye Bai?”

Chi Pu knows everything that’s been going in, and has heard that You Yan took a few days off from school to go to the shore with Ye Bai. You Yan claims that they went because she was modeling for him. “Just modeling?” Chi Pu asks, skeptical. You Yan nods vigorously.

Chi Pu accepts her answer for now, reminding her that modeling is okay, but boyfriends are another matter. Her father won’t accept that as easily. You Yan mumbles unhappily about her father micro-managing her life, but Chi Pu tells her to cut him some slack. She should know how much he was affected by her mother’s problems. He reminds her that her mother’s birthday is tomorrow and asks if she’ll be going home. You Yan responds, “Of course,” and Chi Pu says they can talk more then.

You Yan is the first one back in her dorm room that night. Shan Shan returns shortly afterward, looking pretty happy, so You Yan assumes she passed her interview. She didn’t, but she’s realized that she doesn’t need to be stressed about her interviews because she’s got the skills to get a good job. You Yan teases that the more time she spends with a certain someone, the more she’s starting to sound like him.

Shan Shan turns around to tease You Yan, asking if Ye Bai was the one to walk her home that night. You Yan sighs and says that it’s impossible for the two of them to be together. Shan Shan asks if they had a fight, but You Yan just shakes her head and says that she’ll have to spend some time thinking long and hard about the two of them.

Zi Jian sits in his studio at home and looks at Ye Bai’s contact info on his screen. He finally makes the call. After telling Ye Bai that he sent You Yan home safely, he asks him about his eyes, not noticing that his sister is standing in the doorway behind him and eavesdropping (!!!). Ye Bai asks if he got the women’s dress colors wrong earlier that night, then tells Zi Jian that he painted his submission for the art competition himself. Zi Jian promises Ye Bai that he’ll keep his condition a secret, and Ye Bai thanks him.

After hanging up, Ye Bai looks at the portrait of You Yan that he painted earlier, asking, “Will you be my sunshine?”

The next morning at breakfast, Zi Jian asks his sister if they’re hiring French translators. He has a friend at school who is graduating that year and is hoping to help her get a job. A female friend? his sister asks. She immediately figures out that Zi Jian is talking about You Yan, and comments that You Yan seems pretty close with Ye Bai. She tells Zi Jian that he also has stock in the company, so he can do what he wants. If he likes the girl, then go after her. If he manages to win her affections, at least that’s one thing he’ll be able to beat Ye Bai at.

Zi Jian waits for You Yan outside the library, where he gives her an invitation to the final round of interviews for a position at his family’s company. You Yan is hesitant to accept, saying that in terms of a job it’s probably best if she finds one on her own. He tells her that his family’s company pays pretty well, and encourages her to just give it a try now that she has the invitation. It won’t hurt. She reluctantly accepts it.

Zi Yan and Ye Bai spot You Yan from afar, and Zi Yan decides to prank her by scaring her, ignoring Ye Bai’s protests. She’s shocked into dropping the invitation that Zi Jian gave her, but teases Zi Yan right back by saying that Shan Shan is right behind him. Ye Bai helps her pick up the invitation she dropped. He asks if she’s starting to interview for companies, and she responds that she is, since graduation is coming up soon. Zi Yan asks Ye Bai if he’s already mentioned to You Yan that they want her to be their model for their final project. He hasn’t, so he asks her then and says they can meet up soon to talk about the details.

You Yan quickly says that she can’t model for them because she probably won’t have time. She thanks him for his faith in her and says that she had a really good time working with him, but she has to go. She turns and runs away, leaving Zi Yan and Ye Bai confused.

Zi Yan asks Ye Bai if they argued, but Ye Bai says they haven’t. They were still fine yesterday. There must be something they don’t know about going on. Zi Yan says that he’ll ask Shan Shan for him.

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That night at dinner, You Yan’s father has made a feast for the three of them, but You Yan treat him coldly. Chi Pu tries to ease the tension, and when You Yan’s father gets up to tend to the tea kettle, he admonishes You Yan for not being nicer to her father. She’s still angry that he sold all her mother’s paintings. Chi Pu says that after Chi Zheng’s death, You Yan’s father was more affected than anyone. Why else would he have not remarried in the years since? He’s a well-off, eligible bachelor who could easily have found You Yan a new stepmother.

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You Yan is tired of Chi Pu telling her this — he’s mentioned it every year. But Chi Pu just wants to remind her that she’s his last hope, and her health isn’t even that great. She has to think carefully about everything she does. He hasn’t told her father about Ye Bai because he doesn’t want him to worry, especially after what happened at the alumni event last time. Is she or is she not dating Ye Bai? he asks. You Yan insists that she and Ye Bai aren’t in a relationship, but at that moment her father comes back with noodles, effectively ending the conversation.

The noodles that You Yan’s father made were Chi Zheng’s favorite thing to eat on her birthday. He tells You Yan and Chi Pu to eat them while they’re hot, then takes a portion over to the little shrine he has for Chi Zheng.

You Yan tears up as she watches her father light some incense for her mother, and remembers a happier time from her childhood when her family was still whole. She remembers playing with her parents at the pavilion by the shore and asking if they can come back together in the future. Her doting father says that they can come back every day if that’s what his daughter wants.

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At home, Ye Bai continues to be troubled by his interaction with You Yan earlier that day. He calls Zi Yan to see if he has any updates from Shan Shan, but she doesn’t seem to know either. He looks up at one of his paintings and his color vision flashes in and out.

Zi Jian and his sister eat breakfast together again the next morning. Wei Jia mentions that today is the day the winner of the International Young Artists competition is announced. She asks what they should do if Ye Bai actually wins the award. Zi Jian says that if Ye Bai actually wins, that means he actually is talented and there’s nothing they can do about it. Wei Jia asks her brother if he’s naive or actually dumb. She reminds him that if Ye Bai wins, there’s nothing Zi Jian can do to hold onto his place as his generation’s top young artist. She says that as long as the award hasn’t been presented yet, then they still have time to act. Zi Jian asks what his sister is planning on doing now, and responds that she doesn’t want to have to do anything.

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Huai An meets with her uncle, who reminds her that even if Ye Bai gives them the rights to sell his Primary Colors works, as an un-signed artist, they won’t be able to raise his paintings’ market value through media hype. Huai An understands his worries, but also mentions that the International Young Artists award winner will be announced at 2 AM. If Ye Bai wins, then all the galleries will be clamoring to get his works, and they’ll already be a step ahead.

Everyone nervously stays up for the International Young Artists award winner to be announced. You Yan is the only one not staring at a computer screen. Instead, she lies sadly in bed, saying it won’t make a different whether she sees the result tonight or when she wakes up the next morning. But, she’s set an alarm for 2 AM and whips out her phone when the alarm goes off.

Everyone stares at the results.

The winner is not Ye Bai.

No one expects this result, and everyone is shell-shocked. Zi Yan tries to distract Ye Bai by taking him out to eat. Huai An’s uncle calls her, saying that they didn’t expect this result. Huai An tries to make excuses for Ye Bai, but her uncle says that they don’t have time to wait for Ye Bai to prove himself.

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Wei Jia has stayed up as well, and tells Zi Jian that she saw this result coming. After all, how could a color-blind artist win the International Young Artists award? Zi Jian asks her how she knows, but she says that he doesn’t need to know that. Instead, he should focus on himself. If a color-blind artist could make it past the qualifying round, then what does that say about him?

But Zi Jian is still thinking about Ye Bai’s color-blindness and asks her if she can keep it a secret. She asks him why he’s still thinking about Ye Bai’s problems. He needs to think about himself a bit more.

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Back at his apartment, Ye Bai tries to rally himself, saying that even though he didn’t win, he can still accept a meal from Zi Yan. Right as they’re about to leave, Zi Yan gets a call from Shan Shan, who asks how Ye Bai is doing. Zi Yan says that Ye Bai’s fine. Shan Shan says that it’s good that he’s fine, but she has some problems: You Yan has been rolling around in bed but not saying a word ever since she found out the news. Zi Yan makes sure to repeat this extra loud, then asks Ye Bai if he wants to take the phone and talk to You Yan.

Ye Bai picks up the phone, but then his own cell phone starts ringing. He picks up and answers in French: it’s the awards committee. It turns out that they made a mistake in listing the award winner, and Ye Bai is the real winner.

You Yan, Shan Shan, and Xiao Cong celebrate at this new news, and Shan Shan asks if You Yan will give Ye Bai a congratulatory phone call. She smiles but shakes her head, saying that he probably has enough people calling him.

Sure enough, Ye Bai’s phone won’t stop ringing, even though it’s 3 AM. Huai An receives a call that the initial results were wrong, and immediately calls Ye Bai to congratulate him and tell him that she always believed in him. She reminds him of their earlier agreement for him to have a solo exhibition if he won, and asks if he’ll come in to meet with her and her uncle the next day. He agrees.

But despite all the happy news, Ye Bai still manages to look dejected. Zi Yan asks what’s wrong: is he tired? He’s not, but she hasn’t called him yet. He stares at his phone, waiting for You Yan to call.

You Yan has also been staring at her own phone, drafting a text to Ye Bai but unable to send it. She remembers Chi Pu saying that her father would never approve of her dating an artist, and that she is now the single most important thing in her father’s heart. With a sigh, she deletes her text.

The next day, Zi Jian arrives on campus to find media everywhere. He’s confused, until Long Li asks him if he’s heard that Ye Bai won the international competition. Who would’ve known? Zi Jian rushes to verify this on the website.

Ye Bai arrives early for his meeting with Huai An and her uncle and spends some time looking at Chi Zheng’s Sunshine Girl painting. He silently thanks Chi Zheng for introducing him to art, and tells her that he won the prize and dedicates it to her. But, he asks, should he continue? Is there still a point in continuing to paint if he can’t even detect differences in color?

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Huai An comes to fetch him, and he just misses You Yan entering the art gallery. She also goes over to her mother’s painting and reports that someone else has won the award. He’s a very good painter and a very good person. “But, mom,” she asks, tearing up as she fondly remembers all her happy memories with Ye Bai, “can you tell me what I should do?”

Ye Bai meets with Huai An and her uncle, who hands him the terms of their agreement. Ye Bai’s eyes widen as he reads a section of the agreement that says he must provide an additional twelve paintings to the exhibition (for a total of ninety works). Huai An says that while the quality of his works are good, they still need a greater quantity, especially since this will be Yi Xin’s biggest exhibition of the year. They’ve allotted him extra time to retouch some of his old works as well as create some new ones.

Ye Bai says that he’s afraid he won’t be able to do that, which make Huai An and her uncle look alarmed. Her uncle says that if he has any problems, he can bring it up and they can find a solution together. But Ye Bai isn’t willing to bring up his problems and just apologizes again, before getting up and leaving. Huai An makes some excuses for Ye Bai, then reassures her uncle that she can convince Ye Bai to supply the additional works for the exhibition.

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Wei Jia has found out about Ye Bai’s win and is clearly not happy about it. She orders one of her underlings to investigate the situation thoroughly. She looks at the award website and scoffs at how a color-blind artist could win the top prize.

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Ye Bai walks along by himself and remembers a happier time from his childhood when his whole family shared a bar of chocolate. He’s jolted out of his memories when a mysterious man claps him on the shoulder.

Ye Bai gets a coffee with the man, who congratulates him on the winning the international art prize. He says he feels extremely proud of him, and remembers how much Ye Bai liked drawing when he was little. His mother always said he had a lot of raw talent.

Ye Bai doesn’t look at the man while he talks, until the mention of his mother, which makes him lash out. “My mom’s been gone for years, and now you finally show up trying to act like a father?” he demands. (!!)

Ye Bai’s father tries to insist that despite his absence, they’re still father and son, but Ye Bai says that ever since his mother and brother passed away, he has been alone, and he never had, nor will he ever have, a father. His father sighs and shakes his head, saying that he can never make it up to Ye Bai and his family. Now he’s old and has no one he trusts by his side: he supposes that’s karma. “Son, can’t we just talk?” he asks.

Ye Bai asks him if he knows that he went to find him when he was seven. He waited outside of a big, fancy house in the rain. A woman exited the house, a “Mrs. Gu,” who asked Ye Bai if he was Gu Ye Bai. She told him that his father doesn’t want him anymore, and to not come looking for him anymore, then left him in the rain.

Ye Bai’s father said he never knew about the incident, but Ye Bai says that’s unimportant now. Was his absence in the following ten or so years also because of this one misunderstanding? Ye Bai’s father doesn’t have an answer for that, and can only apologize.

“President Gu,” Ye Bai addresses his father, “You are a stranger to me, as I am sure I am to you. Let’s not go looking for unhappy memories.” He rises to leave, but his father stops him, asking, “Then why did you agree to meet with me in a coffee shop?”

“That’s because…” Ye Bai responds, his fists clenching… and then the scene ends. (Of course they would end it there!)

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Thoughts

Okay, I’m SO glad we established Zi Jian did not spill the Ye Bai color-blindness beans to his sister on purpose! It’s just quite unfortunate that his sister seems to be an expert at knowing information she shouldn’t know, and Zi Jian’s just trying to be a good guy, but will probably be implicated in the process. I think the whole Zi Jian-Ye Bai friendship could bloom into a beautiful bromance, but everyone seems intent on pitting them against each other. Like really, did his sister have to make You Yan’s affections another point of competition between the two?

Father-daughter relationships always tug at my heartstrings, and I’m glad that we’re starting to get a deeper look at You Yan’s relationship with her father. It’s so obvious that he loves her, but I’m also certain that there’s a history between them that we don’t quite know about yet. It doesn’t seem like You Yan to hold a grudge against her father simply because of a few paintings, so I feel like there must be something else going on as well.

I think the resolution and introduction of various plot arcs is really well-done here. The whole painting swap, competition saga is over, but now we have to contend with some complicated paternal relationships for both of our lead characters. The pacing continues to be solid in this show — I just wish that the actors’ skills could keep up with their characters’ complexity.

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