Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: The Journey from Tonight is White (Ep. 19)

This episode is a departure from our main storyline and things take a more slice-of-life approach as our characters are forced to think about their futures and life beyond college. Ye Bai is out of the picture and on a quest of his own, but just because he’s gone doesn’t mean we’re free of Zhe Jing quite yet.

Recap

Huai An and You Yan chat over dinner, and Huai An tells You Yan that if working at the gallery is painful for her, then she supports her decision to leave. You Yan thanks her, then gets distracted by the sight of Ye Bai walking by in a reflection. She immediately runs after him, but finds that it’s a stranger. She just imagined that it was Ye Bai.

She returns to her table, embarrassed. Huai An tries to reassure her that Ye Bai will come back, but discourages You Yan from trying to go find him — where would she even start looking? She says that Ye Bai is a talented artist and he wouldn’t be able to stay away from the art world for long. They’re sure to hear some news of him. She’s told all her contacts in the art world to keep an eye out.

Huai An asks You Yan if she has any future plans, but she doesn’t. She tells You Yan that she’s a hard worker, but is sometimes indecisive. If the right opportunity comes along, she shouldn’t let it pass her by.

You Yan and her friends go to take a test for Wei Shi Corporation’s internship program. They look nervously at all the people there. Xiao Cong tells them she heard they’re only accepting fifty people to the program.

Zhe Jing is also there, and upon spotting You Yan, heads over to their table. She asks if You Yan’s ready to compete with her for the position, then says she must be scared, because she lost to her when it came to Ye Bai. Now that Ye Bai’s gone, You Yan is done playing nice. She says that Ye Bai isn’t an object, nor has she ever lost to Zhe Jing or been afraid of her.

Shan Shan tells everyone to get up and leave. Long Li is the only one who stays behind and tries to make some moves on Zhe Jing, who just glares at him.

Zhe Jing calls Wei Jia to whine that Ye Bai has left. Wei Jia says that perhaps Ye Bai leaving is a good thing — now he and You Yan aren’t together anymore. Zhe Jing says that this is all You Yan’s fault for chasing Ye Bai away, and she won’t forgive her for it. Then she tells Wei Jia that she’s applied to the Wei Shi internship program and asks her to make sure she passes. Wei Jia doesn’t look happy to hear that Zhe Jing is coming to Wei Shi, but says that she’ll make arrangements.

Ye Bai, with a new hairstyle and suitcase in hand, finds himself in a new town. He goes to a fish ball restaurant, where he takes note of the paintings on the walls, and asks the boss if a blind artist named Mu Mian lives there. She says that there is no artist in the area, and that he should look elsewhere. But Ye Bai doesn’t seem convinced and asks her to serve him some fish balls first.

He sits down, and the boss preps some food for him, while glancing at his back in a way that suggests she knows more than she’s letting on.

Huai An calls her uncle. She’s been looking for Ye Bai but has heard no news from her contacts in the country. However, there’s a blind artist in America that she thinks Ye Bai might have gone to look for. Her uncle tells her to put her efforts into developing Zi Jian rather than waste energy searching for Ye Bai. Huai An angrily responds that Zi Jian is not Ye Bai and the two are completely different.

She turns and spots Zi Jian, who heard the end of the exchange. He confronts her about it, saying that she would never consider his paintings to be on the same level as Ye Bai’s. Huai An tries to smooth things over, saying that’s not what she meant. After all, didn’t all his paintings also sell out after his exhibition?

But Zi Jian says it’s not the same: all the people who bought his paintings only did it because of his sister. Huai An tells him that he should believe in himself more. His skills are strong, but he lacks life experience. Part of the strength in Ye Bai’s art comes from the hardships he’s experienced in life. Zi Jian’s life has been too sheltered, and that’s where he falls short in his painting. He asks Huai An what he should do, and she suggests that he interact more with people and see different parts of society.

After eating, Ye Bai sets up his easel outside the fish ball restaurant. He’s decided to stay there and draw, regardless of whether Mu Mian is there or not, and he’ll sell his drawings to passers-by in order to buy fish balls. The restaurant owner tells him that he should probably go back to the big city he came from — he won’t get many buyers here in this small town — but he says he can’t go back, and she lets him do what he wants, but watches with a smile as he sketches.

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You Yan her friends hand in their applications and interview for the Wei Shi internship program. The recruiter tells them that results will be released online in a week. Xiao Cong is worried she didn’t do well during the interview because she was so nervous, but her friends reassure her that she probably did fine — she’s the smartest out of all of them. Zi Yan laments how terribly he did, but Shan Shan says that it’s good that he was there, because he made the rest of them look super good in comparison.

Long Li and Zi Jian play some basketball, but Zi Jian seems distracted and doesn’t play as well as usual. Long Li asks him is he’s okay, then begs for a favor. He wants Zi Jian to use some of his influence as heir to the company and get him into the internship program. Zi Jian has no clue that this internship program was even a thing, but perks up when Long Li mentions that You Yan also applied. He seems to get an idea, and leaves Long Li to play ball by himself.

That night at dinner, Zi Jian tells his sister that he wants to work at the family company. She says that she’ll get one of the directors to show him around, so that he can be a kind of vice director. But he says that he wants to be one of the interns, so his sister agrees to add his name to the incoming class of interns.

The next morning, Xiao Cong nervously looks up the acceptance results and is excited to find that she’s been accepted. In fact, all three of them have made it in, and they celebrate that they’ll be together forever.

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Their first day at work, the three of them are put in a meeting room with Zi Yan, Long Li, Zhe Jing, and another guy. The director of HR walks in with Zi Jian, who announces that he’ll be joining them as an intern. The director tells them that they are the top seven students in the intern class. Most of them are there because of their high scores on the written test — such as Xiao Cong, who had the highest score — but some of them are there because of they stood out with their personality and character during the interview — such as Zi Yan. Halfway through the internship, there will be an assessment, after which only the top twelve interns will be able to continue in the internship with a chance to get a full-time offer.

They are divided into different departments: Long Li, Zi Yan, and the irrelevant other guy are put in the design department, You Yan and Xiao Cong get put in the planning department, Shan Shan and Zhe Jing in the sales department, and Zi Jian in the HR department.

Screenshot 2017-11-24 19.38.07.png

The six classmates — You Yan, Shan Shan, Xiao Cong, Zi Yan, and Long Li — eat together during their lunch break. You Yan finishes early and is about to leave with Shan Shan, but Zi Jian asks to speak with her alone. Xiao Cong watches sadly as they leave. Zhe Jing spots this whole exchange from afar, and approaches the table, sitting down next to Xiao Cong. Shan Shan gives her a dirty look and gets Zi Yan to leave with her. Xiao Cong is slow to leave, and Zhe Jing tries to stir up some trouble by wondering out loud why You Yan and Zi Jian seem to always be together. Xiao Cong quickly gets up and leaves, and Long Li scoots into her empty seat to try to make more moves on Zhe Jing.

Zi Jian doesn’t have anything in particular he wanted to ask You Yan, but just wanted to chat. She asks why he decided to start interning at the company, and he says that he wanted to experience a different walk of life, but he also wanted to join because of her. He was worried that his sister would try to make her life difficult. You Yan says that she was able to get in using her own abilities, so she’s sure that Wei Jia would not be petty enough to pick on her, but thanks Zi Jian for his concern.

Zi Jian mentions that his first day isn’t going so smoothly. Everyone calls him “Prince Wei” or “Little CEO” and they all treat him differently than the other interns, which makes him uncomfortable. You Yan says that once he shows some of his own abilities, they’ll probably accept him more for who he is. After all, the people who bought his paintings didn’t buy them because he was Wei Jia’s brother — they bought them because of him and his style.

He doesn’t like that most of what he has accomplished in life has been with the help of his sister, but You Yan tells him not to worry too much about it. He should believe in himself more. He comments again how she always manages to make him feel better whenever they talk.

You Yan heads back to work and he watches at she leaves, thinking to himself that he will definitely make her his girlfriend.

Ye Bai is drawing outside the fish ball restaurant yet again. The restaurant owner goes over and comments that he’s a pretty good artist: would he be willing to draw a portrait of her? She requests that he draw a portrait of her at sixteen. She doesn’t have a picture of herself that he can reference, but he says that he can still do it.

They draw a small crowd, who wonder at what Ye Bai is drawing, since he’s not drawing an exact portrait of the restaurant owner. When he’s finished, they all marvel at how much the young girl he sketched looks like the restaurant owner. Even the owner is surprised and touched by how similar the drawing is to herself at sixteen.

The interns quickly find out that school success does not necessarily translate to work success. Zi Jian sits around, bored, with no work to do and no one paying attention to him. He finally approaches his manager and asks if there’s anything he can do. She gives him some papers to deliver to another department. When he’s gone, she and her assistant director complain about Zi Jian’s presence. They’re worried that he is a spy for his sister, and that his being around is a test. The manager says that she’ll have to think carefully about how to deal with him.

Xiao Cong tries to bring her manager some coffee, but ends up accidentally spilling it on some important papers that her manager needs for a meeting. She offers to go make a copy, but breaks the copier and gives herself a paper cut. Zi Jian walks by and notices that she’s hurt herself. He quickly finds a band-aid and helps dress her paper cut while she smiles at his attention. But her manager and a fellow coworker walk by and see them. Zi Jian uses his influence as a Wei to get them to let Xiao Cong go this time, but once they leave, they start gossiping about how annoying it is to have an intern who has connections to a bigwig like Wei Zi Jian. The coworker says that Zi Jian and Xiao Cong don’t seem to have any special relationship, and if they do, they can always give Xiao Cong a lower score during the assessment.

Xiao Cong goes back to her desk and smiles happily at her bandaged finger. She’s pleased that a key moment like this, Zi Jian stepped up and helped her out. She thinks to herself that it would be so great if they could be together.

Meanwhile, Zi Yan finds surprising success in the workplace. His manager brings their group a project written by a young woman who uses a lot of modern lingo that he can’t understand. Zi Yan looks the document over and cuts in, saying that he understands and can translate for his manager. His manager ends up assigning the whole project to him.

Ye Bai heads over to the fish ball restaurant to find the shop owner closing up early. He offers to help, but is forced to admit that he’s color-blind when she asks him to sort chopsticks and bowls into two different colored buckets. She doesn’t seem too surprised, saying that she knew he must have had some very big reason for not being able to return to where he came from. He responds that his color-blindness is why he’s come to this small town to look for Mr. Mu Mian. He asks her again to help introduce him to Mu Mian.

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She responds that she doesn’t know a Mr. Mu Mian, but Ye Bai is quick to say that he knew from the moment he first came to the restaurant that she knew him. Signs of him are everywhere, from the paintings in the kitchen to the handwriting on the restaurant menu. She smiles slightly as he points out these pieces of evidence. He asks her once more if she can tell him where Mu Mian is.

“I am Mu Mian,” she replies with a mysterious smile. Ye Bai stares at her, asking how that can be: isn’t Mu Mian blind?

Thoughts

I’m not sure if I like the direction this show is going with this episode. This episode was a lot more slice-of-life in that it departed from our romance storyline and started looking more into our characters’ lives, but it feels like the show is trying to do too much. There are hints of a workplace drama plot with Zi Jian and Xiao Cong, but also remnants of Zhe Jing’s evil plotting, and then we also have Ye Bai off and on his own mysterious quest.

I wouldn’t mind all these different plotlines if we had gotten to know our characters better in the beginning, but I feel like the show is trying to be more school/youth and make us care about all these different characters and situations when we don’t have a good foundation to go off of. For example, we don’t really know anything about Xiao Cong at all. She’s always out of the picture and it seems like she only gets some screen time when it comes to Zi Jian or being jealous over Zi Jian. So I don’t really find myself caring about all of her scenes so far, because I don’t know anything about her personality.

This show is a lot stronger when it’s focusing on Ye Bai and You Yan. The past few episodes were super dramatic, but I find their relationship struggles a lot more compelling than these faux-real life plot arcs.

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