Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: The Journey from Tonight is White (Ep. 20)

Ye Bai learns how to work with his visual handicap while the rest of our characters continue to face the rough world of a real-life workplace. Zhe Jing continues with her shenanigans, but You Yan shows us that she doesn’t back down from any sort of challenge.

Recap

Ye Bai asks the restaurant owner where Mu Mian is, thinking that he’s won her over. She responds by saying that she is Mu Mian, which confounds Ye Bai because Mu Mian is supposed to be a blind person.

Cut to Ye Bai watching intently as a blind man picks up a glob of paint with his fingers, feels the texture, then sniffs it. He mixes it with another color and repeats the process, then tells the restaurant lady that this color is good. She nods and mixes the colors for him. He tells her which paintbrush he wants and she hands it to him with the color already on the tip. He feels the incomplete painting in front of him and begins applying color. Ye Bai stares intently at his eyes, as if not believing that he’s actually blind.

As he paints, Mu Mian asks Ye Bai, “Now do you understand why Mu Mian is not just one person?” Without his wife, the existence of Mu Mian the artist would not be possible. His wife says that both she and her husband are just two halves of one whole. Only together are they Mu Mian. The husband and wife duo remind Ye Bai of him and You Yan.

Ye Bai asks Mu Mian if he can become his apprentice. He wants to relearn how to paint. Mu Mian responds that he may have his wife’s approval, but he hasn’t gotten his yet.

At Wei Shi Corp, You Yan and Xiao Cong’s manager receives some last-minute data from a client at the end of the day. She tells You Yan and Xiao Cong to each write up a report using the data by tomorrow morning and warns them that this will factor into their final evaluation.

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Ye Bai watches intently as Mu Mian pours some tea. The man is obviously very able to live a normal life despite being blind, which Ye Bai seems surprised about. He keeps staring at the man’s eyes.

Mu Mian tells him that there’s nothing to be surprised about: his eyes are blind, not his heart. His wife showed him the portrait that Ye Bai drew of her. It’s pretty good. “Oh, so you saw it,” Ye Bai responds, but then double-takes as he realizes what he said. How did Mu Mian see his painting?

His wife comes over. She’s made an etching of the portrait, which Mu Mian “sees” by feeling. Mu Mian feels the portrait once more as he tells Ye Bai it’s clear that he drew with both head and heart. He reminds Ye Bai that art requires heart. Only by using his heart can he find inspiration and convey what he feels through his art. This is the basis of blind art, and Mu Mian won’t be able to teach him until he masters it. Starting from today, he has to forget about his brush.

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It’s dark by the time You Yan finishes writing her report. She and Xiao Cong are both still in the office. Xiao Cong still has some work to do, but tells You Yan that she can leave without her. You Yan is reluctant, but Xiao Cong says that she feels more pressure with her there, so she leaves.

The moment You Yan leaves, Zhe Jing appears and tries to stir up some trouble. She reminds Xiao Cong that she’s in a competition with You Yan during this internship. Hard work and smarts won’t be enough to win — she has to do take action. For example, she could delete You Yan’s report.

Xiao Cong is vehemently against this idea at first, but Zhe Jing can be pretty convincing when she wants to be, taking advantage of Xiao Cong’s jealousy over You Yan and Zi Jian’s relationship. She drags Xiao Cong over to You Yan’s desk and asks for the password, full of threats about how she’ll be eliminated in the first round of cuts if she doesn’t do this. Xiao Cong succumbs and enters You Yan’s password, but regrets it right as Zhe Jing deletes the document. Now she’s complicit too. Zhe Jing pats Xiao Cong on the shoulder, saying she’ll definitely come out as the victor tomorrow, then prances off, leaving Xiao Cong looking conflicted.

You Yan and Ye Bai go outside and stare up at the full moon in the night sky, each wondering what the other is doing, reflecting on their days, and thinking about their happy memories together.

The next morning, Xiao Cong and You Yan meet with their manager. You Yan is forced to break the news that her report has disappeared overnight. Her manager clearly doesn’t believe her, thinking that she’s making up excuses for not having completed the assignment. You Yan promises that she did complete the assignment, saying that Xiao Cong can vouch for her. Xiao Cong looks uncomfortable, then says that maybe You Yan didn’t save it properly.

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Their manager doesn’t seem to buy it, saying that being incapable and lazy is one thing, but being incapable and lying is a whole other thing. You Yan starts to protest, but her manager doesn’t want to hear anymore. Zi Jian happens to be walking by, and knocks at the door just in time to save You Yan from more lecturing.

Their manager immediately gets up to greet Zi Jian (as little President Wei) but Zi Jian’s attention is immediately on You Yan. She explains the situation to him. He immediately vouches for You Yan to her manager, saying that she’s one of his best friends. You Yan looks uncomfortable at this, and her manager tries to pass it off as nothing, while their coworkers exchange a look. Xiao Cong clenches a fist. Once You Yan, Zi Jian, and the manager leave, their coworkers start gossiping about how You Yan must be Zi Jian’s girlfriend, while Xiao Cong listens with a dejected expression.

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Zi Jian heads back to his office after meeting with You Yan’s manager. Whenever an employee passes by, they greet him with a bow and acknowledgement of him as “Little President Wei.” When he gets back to his office, his coworkers all immediately stop chatting and hurry back to their desks. He pretends to not notice and reports back to his own manager, asking if there’s anymore work to be done. She says that there isn’t, but when he seems to insist on having more to do, she sends him out of the office with her assistant manager.

You Yan and Xiao Cong’s manager returns to their office and assigns Xiao Cong some work to do. You Yan isn’t given anything, so she speaks up and asks if there’s something she can do. Her manager decides to let her proofread a report that’s already finished. It’s clearly busy-work, but You Yan smiles anyway.

Mu Mian starts training Ye Bai in the art of blind painting. He easily reels off the colors on a palette in front of Ye Bai, despite not being able to see. Ye Bai blindfolds himself and starts touching, smelling, and listening to each paint color while Mu Mian says that he must learn to use all of his senses (other than sight) to differentiate between different colors.

You Yan looks bored at work. The report she’s been given to proofread is perfect. She looks over at Xiao Cong, who is clearly busy with more meaningful work and asks her mentor some questions. She wonders how two interns at the same level could have such vastly different experiences. She tries to offer her other coworkers help, but they’re quick to refuse. Xiao Cong’s mentor gives You Yan a sideways glance then smirks and shakes his head.

You Yan goes for a coffee break, where Zi Jian finds her. Her coworkers nearby quickly leave when they see Zi Jian heading over. He tells her that he’s been looking for her: he wants to invite her to dinner. She quickly begs off, saying that she’s already made plans with Shan Shan and Zi Yan. He tries to reschedule, saying that he has some things he wants to tell her. She does too, but she wants to say them now instead of later. She asks Zi Jian if he can keep his distance from her at the company. She’s noticed that her coworkers have been treating her differently ever since Zi Jian stepped in for her earlier, and she’s worried that they’ve misunderstood her relationship with him.

Zi Jian interprets this as her not wanting to see him at the company anymore. She quickly tries to tell him that he’s not the problem, but it’s who he is in relation to the company that’s the problem. He understands — that’s what he wanted to talk to her about as well. He feels like he’s unwanted at the company and doesn’t know what to do about it. She suggests that he try to get to know his coworkers more, and that he should try to let them get to know the real him more.

You Yan’s manager watches the two converse from a distance, then turns and leaves with an unreadable expression on her face.

At night, a blindfolded Ye Bai stands outside with Mu Mian. Mu Mian tells him that he must learn how to see while blind before he can paint while blind. What does he see? At first, he says that he sees nothing. Mu Mian responds that even darkness is something and tells him to keep looking.

We dive into a sequence in which Ye Bai is suddenly surrounded by a swirling night sky, and then the northern lights. His blindfold is gone, his eyes are open, and his hairstyle has changed. The lights swirl around him and he sees a vision of You Yan smiling and waving among them. But he doesn’t say anything to Mu Mian, and instead just says that he sees the night wind.

Mu Mian responds that perhaps his heart isn’t open enough yet, and instructs him to stand outside, blindfolded, every night until he sees something.

Back at the dorm, You Yan reports to Shan Shan what happened that day. She thinks that someone must have deleted her computer file, but who? The only person who knows her password is Xiao Cong, and she knows that Xiao Cong wouldn’t have done it. They’ve been best friends for so long.

Xiao Cong returns home just in time to hear this, and looks down, but asks them what they’re talking about. Shan Shan explains You Yan’s suspicions, then asks if Xiao Cong knows anything. Xiao Cong is quick to put the blame on Zhe Jing, saying that she came by looking for a computer to use, and that she let her into You Yan’s computer.

You Yan and Shan Shan are quick to believe that Zhe Jing is the culprit, not noticing when Xiao Cong turns away, looking uneasy.

Ye Bai, Mu Mian, and his wife have tea. Ye Bai looks troubled, which Mu Mian can’t see, but can clearly sense, because he asks him what’s troubling him. Ye Bai doesn’t say anything, so Mu Mian starts talking about the difference between being good at painting people versus scenery. Being good at painting people requires understanding people and what they want. He encourages Ye Bai to interact with people more to try to understand them. Ye Bai responds that even though he’s only twenty-some years old, he can already see the ugliness of human nature.

Mu Mian decides to tell Ye Bai a story of his own blindness. He lost his vision to illness, and for a while after losing his vision, felt the same way as Ye Bai: that human nature was ugly and that the world was a terrible place. But, he was lucky in that he had a supportive and loving wife, who told him that his eyes might be blind, but his heart should never be blind. He shouldn’t reject the world because of his own suffering. He’s grateful to his wife for giving him the courage to pick up his paintbrush again, but also grateful to himself for letting himself listen to her words. Only by opening his heart has he been able to see more colors than ever. He tells Ye Bai that they’re not the same — he is physically blind while Ye Bai just has a psychological color blindness. If he can do all this and paint, then why can’t Ye Bai?

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The next morning, You Yan’s manager announces that the digital marketing team is starting a new business involving public media accounts. If anyone has any ideas, they should let her know. You Yan eagerly jumps in and asks if she’s allowed to participate. Her coworkers exchange looks, but You Yan’s manager says that she’s a member of their team so she’s allowed to submit a proposal. You Yan is too happy that she now has work to do.

Shan Shan and Zhe Jing meet with their manager, who gives them the job of roleplaying a customer service scenario. Zhe Jing immediately volunteers to play the customer, while Shan Shan has to be herself, a customer service representative. Their manager leaves to take a phone call, and the two start bickering a bit. They start acting out a scenario, but Zhe Jing immediately starts trying to push Shan Shan’s buttons, asking her to repeat what she’s saying because her accent is too thick (which is laughable because her Mandarin is pretty proper).

Shan Shan falls out of character, saying that she’s not as easy to push around as You Yan and that she’s not afraid to fight. Zhe Jing keeps on provoking her, saying that she’ll probably be eliminated in the first round of evaluations. Their manager returns and asks what’s going on. Zhe Jing plays innocent, saying that she was pretending to be a difficult customer and then Shan Shan suddenly got angry at her. Their manager reprimands Shan Shan while Zhe Jing smiles smugly.

Ye Bai practices blind painting, closing his eyes completely in order to paint. Mrs. Mu walks by and comments on his abundant use of color. It sounds more like a warning than a compliment, and upon hearing this, Mu Mian warns Ye Bai that he must be careful not to use too much color.

A friend of Mu Mian’s drops by to invite him up to the mountains. He sees Ye Bai and asks if Mu Mian has taken on an apprentice. Mu Mian responds that Ye Bai is hardly an apprentice, but the friend goes over to look at Ye Bai’s work. He quietly tells Mu Mian that it looks like Ye Bai might one day surpass him in skill.

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Zi Jian approaches his manager and asks if there is any work more relevant to the department (human resources) that he can do. The past two days he’s just been running menial errands, such as delivering documents. His manager responds that as an intern, he probably isn’t ready for actual human resources work. Zi Jian pushes back politely, saying that an intern has to learn somehow. His manager doesn’t look happy about this, but finds some work for him to do.

You Yan submits her proposal to her manager, who looks it over and doesn’t look pleased with it. She tells her manager that if there’s anything she’s unhappy with, she’s more than willing to fix it, but her manager tells her that she should probably go work on something else instead. You Yan doesn’t have anything else to work on, but her manager says she’ll send over more documents for her to proofread.

You Yan starts to leave, but then changes her mind. She starts telling her manager about how she’s never written a professional business plan before and she knows that she probably has many shortcomings. Her manager looks annoyed. But then You Yan says that she’s fully prepared to receive any criticism — she just wants to improve. Her manager looks surprised, saying that she wasn’t going to criticize her. She finds You Yan’s attitude interesting, and tells her that she has good ideas but that her plan was written too unprofessionally. You Yan insists on receiving some feedback on how to improve, and with a sigh, her manager agrees to look at a revision.

Zi Jian’s coworkers start leaving for their lunch breaks. He overhears his neighbors talking about going to a nearby Japanese restaurant that just opened. Remembering You Yan’s words about getting to know his coworkers better, he asks if he can go along as well, even offering to cover the meal. They look nervous about having the “little President Wei” join them, but agree.

Zhe Jing has lunch with Xiao Cong, even offering to buy for her. Xiao Cong looks dejected and Zhe Jing asks what’s wrong. Xiao Cong tells her that she thought their manager liked her a lot, but recently she and You Yan both submitted a proposal and You Yan’s was accepted while hers was rejected. Zhe Jing smiles slightly at this news, and leans forward, asking if Xiao Cong feels threatened now.

Xiao Cong nods, then looks up, eyes widening as she sees Zi Jian enter the restaurant with his coworkers. Zi Jian greets them, then sits down with his coworkers. Zhe Jing takes the opportunity to bring up again how great a guy Zi Jian is — too bad he isn’t Xiao Cong’s. She then asks if Xiao Cong wants to do something to You Yan again — she has an idea.

Xiao Cong says that there’s no need. She wants to get the things she wants through her own efforts. She looks at Zi Jian again with an infatuated smile.

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Zi Yan offers to help finish a project for his coworker, who has to leave early because his daughter is in the hospital. It seems like a pretty important project, and his coworker thanks him, but warns him not to do it wrong.

Shan Shan, You Yan, and Xiao Cong all get off work together. Xiao Cong asks You Yan how her project proposal is coming along. It seems like You Yan has submitted multiple drafts already, but their manager still doesn’t approve. Meanwhile, Shan Shan tries to call Zi Yan, but he isn’t picking up. Xiao Cong says that he must be working overtime, which Shan Shan finds strange because she’s never known him to put extra effort into anything.

Indeed, Zi Yan is busy finishing up his coworker’s project and sending it to the printer while Long Li watches. Long Li notices Shan Shan calling Zi Yan’s phone and starts asking him about their relationship, not buying it when Zi Yan says they’re just friends.

Long Li and Zi Yan leave the office together, running into You Yan and co., who comment on how close the two are. They joke that they didn’t want to be friends, but since they didn’t know anyone else in their department, they had to reluctantly hang out. Shan Shan says that since it’s the weekend and they all got off work, they should go out. Zi Yan should buy. He seems reluctant, but after some goading agrees.

Ye Bai closes his eyes and tries to see without his eyes outside at night again. Mu Mian asks him what he sees. He moves his head around, eyes still closed, then suddenly smiles and says that he sees.

Thoughts

Like the last episode, I found this episode less exciting and less interesting to watch because I don’t think the whole slice-of-life thing works well for this drama. It almost feels like we’ve suddenly transitioned from a school drama to a workplace drama, and there’s too much going on with too many people that I don’t care about.

I’m really frustrated with the way Xiao Cong has been written in this drama because she’s just so flat. I feel like she doesn’t have a consistent character other than her one-dimensional crush on Zi Jian. Part of this is because we don’t know anything about her, but it also seems so strange that she would allow herself to get so chummy with Zhe Jing when she’s seen firsthand what Zhe Jing has done to You Yan, one of her best friends. She seems more like a plot device used to introduce drama (her crush on Zi Jian, being manipulated by Zhe Jing) than an actual person.

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