Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: The Journey from Tonight is White (Ep. 21)

This episode continues to look at snippets of young working life for our young protagonists. They encounter some workplace issues, but also some personal ones as Zhe Jing continues to try to separate Xiao Cong from her friends. Ye Bai finds more success from blind painting and is forced once again to think about what he wants from his future.

Recap

The Wei Shi interns go out to celebrate after getting off work. They’re all seated with drinks when Zi Jian shows up. Xiao Cong immediately perks up and smiles at his presence.

Zi Jian says that it’s great they finally got everyone together, but Zi Yan jumps in and says they’re missing a person: it’d be great if Ye Bai was here. You Yan’s face falls a little at this and Shan Shan jabs at Zi Yan for mentioning Ye Bai. Zi Jian wonders what Ye Bai is up to. He’s disappeared for so long without a word. But Long Li, surprisingly, jumps to Ye Bai’s defense, saying that he must have a reason for leaving and they haven’t graduated yet, so he’s sure to come back. He rallies them and says they should make a toast to their new jobs.

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Huai An calls her uncle and reports that she’s found a blind Chinese artist named Mu Mian. Her uncle has heard of him, and asks her why she’s interested in him. She thinks that Ye Bai is Mu Mian’s new apprentice, and wants to go find him. Her uncle tells her to do what she wants.

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Zi Jian asks everyone how they’re feeling about their new jobs. Long Li complains about how even though his internship is slightly related to his major, all he does all day is get people coffee and run meaningless errands. He wonders why he’s even at this job. Shan Shan is similarly disillusioned with her job, but even more so because it has nothing to do with her French major.

Xiao Cong, the voice of reason, says that everyone has to start somewhere, and that Shan Shan should try learning more from her seniors. Her own mentor is strict with her, but Xiao Cong has learned a lot of things on the job that she never would’ve learned in the classroom.

Zi Jian asks You Yan how she’s doing. You Yan laments that they all seem better off than her. It seems like no one cares what she does, and she doesn’t have any work to do either. Xiao Cong looks down while she says this, probably thinking of her own role in bringing this situation upon You Yan. Shan Shan says that she wishes she could be in that situation — does You Yan want to switch places?

Zi Yan says that unlike everyone else, he loves his job. He finds it very fulfilling and wouldn’t want to switch places with everyone. Long Li mockingly slow claps for him, and Shan Shan asks him to convey some of his positive work experiences.

He stands up and starts to wax poetic about his love for his work when his phone rings. It’s from his manager, saying that he messed up the magazine spread he helped out his coworker with. The printer has already printed out three thousand copies and it’ll cost the company a lot of money. He hangs up.

Zi Yan’s friends all ask what’s wrong. He gets worked up as he explains that he checked the magazine spread dozens of times but somehow it still printed out wrong. You Yan tells him not to freak out. They can figure out a way to fix this. If the magazines haven’t been bound yet, then maybe they can reprint the incorrect pages and replace them in the magazines. Zi Yan thinks that it isn’t possible — there are three thousand copies! But Shan Shan reminds him that all of them can help him out.

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Ye Bai stands in his teacher’s courtyard with eyes closed. Mu Mian asks him what he sees. His eyes open and we’re launched into another sequence in which he has a different hairstyle and is surrounded by colors and paintings. In real life, he smiles and says that he sees all the colors.

The Wei Shi intern friends all stay up late at the office, forming an assembly line to replace the misprinted pages in the magazine. They pull an all-nighter, but manage to get the job done and Zi Yan successfully hands the fixed copies off to his manager the next morning.

Huai An shows up at the fish ball restaurant looking for Ye Bai. Ye Bai is outside painting a portrait of a woman and has drawn a crowd. He seems to have mastered the art of blind painting, because the portrait is full of color. Huai An watches as he mixes colors with his fingers, thinking to herself that this is what blind painting looks like. After he finishes the painting, she approaches him. He looks surprised to see her, but not unhappy.

Zi Jian goes to get some coffee while at work and overhears two of his coworkers talking about him. They say that they’re surprised he’s lasted this long even though they’ve been doing their best to make the internship a poor experience, but that because he’s the future successor to the company, they can’t just outright ignore him. His group’s assistant manager complains that ever since Zi Jian started interning, his workload has doubled. They finally notice Zi Jian and immediately try to make amends, but he simply apologizes for bringing them so much trouble and leaves while they rush after him.

Huai An congratulates Ye Bai on no longer being limited by his sight. Ye Bai responds that he’s only just started. He still has a lot to learn. She tells him how she’s been trying to find news of him ever since he left. She was worried that he was trying to hide from something, but was surprised to find that he’s found a new way of approaching life. She thinks that he will come back a stronger artist than before. She asks him if he’d be willing to reconsider her offer of working with her gallery. Before, he had rejected her because of his color blindness, but now that’s not a problem anymore.

Ye Bai says that he likes his current situation and just wants to focus on learning blind painting. He doesn’t want to think about anything else. Huai An asks if he plans on staying here forever, but he just smiles and doesn’t say anything. She asks if he’s forgotten that city and is letting go of that city. He just frowns and doesn’t say anything. Huai An comments that if that girl were here, he probably would agree to go back. She thinks that the only person in this world who can change his mind is Lu You Yan. She sighs and asks him if she should give up on him.

You Yan goes to see her manager, asking if she’s seen the latest revision of her proposal. Her manager asks her how she feels about it. You Yan says she thinks it’s okay, which makes her manager scoff. Is that what she thinks of her own work? You Yan responds that at this point she’s revised it nine times and thinks it should be good enough, but that if her manager is still dissatisfied with it she can fix it again. Her manager says that if this were a real business case, their client would’ve been poached by another company long ago at the speed that You Yan was working.

You Yan starts to respond, but her manager tells her to just let it go. Even if You Yan is willing to revise it more, her manager doesn’t want to read it anymore. She comments on how You Yan has interned for so long, yet this is all she has to show for it.

You Yan gets lunch with Shan Shan and Xiao Cong and asks them what her manager’s words mean. Is she hinting that You Yan is an inefficient worker? The intern evaluations are coming up, yet You Yan hasn’t accomplished a single thing the whole internship. She thinks that she won’t make it to the next round.

Xiao Cong tries to comfort her, saying that everyone is the same, but You Yan is quick to say that they’re not the same. Xiao Cong has her own mentor showing her the ropes. You Yan doesn’t even have a mentor. She’s looked at a lot of things on her own and learned a lot, but doesn’t have any results to show for it. Xiao Cong looks down at this.

Shan Shan tries to make You Yan feel better, or at the very least, share in her troubles. Xiao Cong says that they’re both exaggerating and their situations aren’t as dire as they’re making them out to be, but they simultaneously respond that it is as bad as it seems.

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Ye Bai does some more night-time blind visualization outside. This time he sees a lot of colors and a smiling You Yan in front of him. He smiles at the sight of her, but his face falls slightly when she skips off and disappears.

The next morning, the intern evaluations are released. Shan Shan, Zi Yan, Long Li, and Xiao Cong have all passed. Shan Shan notices with some unhappiness that Zhe Jing has also made it through. But You Yan’s name isn’t up on the board. Shan Shan says that there must be some mistake, but You Yan says she was prepared for this scenario. Xiao Cong seems to feel bad for her, and tries to comfort her by saying that it’s not the end of the world if she didn’t pass these evaluations: there are plenty of other jobs out there.

You Yan says that they don’t need to comfort her and seems ready to leave when a worker comes by and puts up a final evaluation sheet. It’s You Yan’s, and her score is the highest of all the interns. Xiao Cong looks shocked (and perhaps a little dismayed?) to see this.

A dejected-looking Xiao Cong heads into her group’s office, where the two gossipy coworkers pointedly talk to each other about how the interns they liked were all eliminated but the ones they didn’t think so highly of made it through.

Xiao Cong asks her mentor how the interns are evaluated. Her mentor explains that there are a lot of factors that go into it. But she says that still doesn’t understand. For example, You Yan didn’t seem super special during the internship, yet she received such a high score. Her mentor says that You Yan’s score is because of their manager. Xiao Cong is surprised, because it seemed like their manager didn’t particularly favor You Yan — is there something else in play? (Perhaps she thinks Zi Jian had something to do with it?)

Her mentor says that You Yan impressed their manager with her persistence in revising her proposal. Even though it wasn’t accepted, their manager was very pleased with how she improved with each revision and was so dedicated about it. It’s a quality difficult to find in a new hire. Xiao Cong looks more and more dejected as she hears this and nods in understanding.

Long Li and Zi Yan take a picture with the rejected interns from their department and say goodbye. They chat sadly with Shan Shan and You Yan about how they just got to know these people and now they’re gone. It seems like a bit of a precursor to college graduation.

To their surprise, Zi Jian walks up, holding his own box of stuff. He’s also going to leave.

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The top remaining interns–friends plus Zhe Jing–sit down with Wei Jia. She announces that the next part of the internship involves dividing the interns into two groups who will compete against each other in a business case competition. The goal is to develop the most successful public social media account, in an extension of the project that You Yan wrote a proposal for. The winning team will be offered full-time jobs. The losing team will be eliminated.

You Yan is made captain of one of the teams, thanks to her high score and earlier project proposal. Zhe Jing volunteers to be the other captain. Wei Jia agrees with a smile. Zhe Jing smiles smugly and she and You Yan stare each other down.

After the meeting, Wei Jia’s assistant asks her why she’s letting Zhe Jing captain one of the teams. Her evaluation scores were not particularly high. Wei Jia tells him not to worry and asks him if he knows of the catfish effect. Zhe Jing is the catfish in this scenario. Her presence is meant to provoke the others so that they will come out stronger. Wei Jia says that it’ll be fun to watch and see what happens next.

The interns all sit around as they absorb what Wei Jia told them about the next part of their internship. Xiao Cong tells Shan Shan and You Yan to wait for her as she runs out for a bathroom break. Zhe Jing watches her leave with a glint her in eye, then asks Long Li if he wants to be on her team. He agrees and they head out, but not without Zhe Jing having the last word with You Yan, saying, “We’ll see what happens next, then.”

Zhe Jing catches Xiao Cong in the hallway after she leaves the bathroom. She tries to get Xiao Cong to join her team, saying that there’s no place for her on You Yan’s team since they’re both planners. Xiao Cong is quick to refuse, so Zhe Jing decides to blackmail her by bringing up the matter of You Yan’s deleted document. She says she won’t bring it up again if Xiao Cong joins her team.

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Zhe Jing drags Xiao Cong over to You Yan in order to announce that Xiao Cong is now on her team. Shan Shan immediately gets riled up and demands to know why, but You Yan tells her to shush. She first makes sure that it’s Xiao Cong’s own choice to join Zhe Jing, and then, ever the angel, says that whatever choice Xiao Cong makes, she respects it. Even though they’re friends, she says that Xiao Cong shouldn’t take it easy on them and they similarly won’t with her. After all, trying their best is the best way to show respect for one another.

You Yan and team get to work trying to research ideas for their social media account but struggle to come up with something they can feel excited about. One idea is to focus on an interesting artist. Zi Yan says that they know an interesting artist: Gu Ye Bai. Shan Shan kicks him for bringing up Ye Bai again. You Yan receives a call from Huai An, asking if she’s free to meet. She wants to talk about Ye Bai.

They meet in Huai An’s office. Huai An tells You Yan that she found Ye Bai learning how to paint from a blind artist. You Yan immediately asks if he’s okay. Huai An says that he’s doing fine and she has no reason to worry, but that she can tell he still thinks about You Yan a lot. She feels that he shouldn’t just stay in that small town forever, but he wouldn’t come back when she asked him to. She tells You Yan that she’s the only one who can bring him back, but You Yan says that he must have his own reasons for wanting to stay. She and Ye Bai have already broken up, so she has no right to go bother him about his life and choices.

Frustrated, Huai An asks You Yan why she still insists on lying to herself. She clearly still cares very much about Ye Bai. But You Yan thinks that she should bury her feelings for him. That would be best for their relationship. Huai An asks her to think about going to get Ye Bai.

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Ye Bai starts a new painting outside. The Mu Mian duo join him and Mr. Mu Mian says that it seems like Ye Bai has mastered the basics of blind painting. Has his way of viewing the world changed?

Ye Bai responds that it has. He’s realized that the what he can see of the world through his eyes doesn’t mean much. All the important things are in his heart. In the future, he just wants to paint from his heart.

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Zhe Jing and her team are also busy working on their project. She tells her team to hurry up and pick a direction so that she can go market it. Long Li seems a mixture of bored and annoyed when he tells her to not be in such a rush. They’re still discussing it. Zhe Jing says that she thinks all this discussion is pointless: isn’t it more important that they be able to market something earlier so they can get more customers? Xiao Cong says that they also need to have meaningful content in order to draw attention.

Zhe Jing says that getting attention should be easy. They should just go with one of those recent viral trends and hit some hot websites. Live video is a big thing, so they could just do some livestreaming related to art. Both Xiao Cong and Long Li don’t seem to take her idea seriously, with Long Li saying that livestreaming seems a bit too different from Wei Shi’s usual aesthetic.

But this gives Xiao Cong an idea. What if they do an “enter an artist’s studio” type of livestream? Long Li likes this idea. They even have an in: Zi Jian is an artist. Xiao Cong smiles at the mention of Zi Jian. Long Li immediately texts Zi Jian to enlist his help. Zi Jian isn’t free until the afternoon, and Long Li is busy then, so he says that Xiao Cong should be the one to go meet with Zi Jian. She’s surprised by seems pleased to have this opportunity to interact with him.

Xiao Cong finds Zi Jian painting outside by a lake. He chats with her about her idea for the project and agrees to help them, then asks why You Yan isn’t with her. Xiao Cong tells him that they’re on different teams. It seems like he might have agreed on the assumption that he would be helping You Yan’s team? He asks more about You Yan and what she’s doing, but Xiao Cong can’t offer much insight.

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Both teams work late into the night on their projects. You Yan’s team still hasn’t decided on a theme. Shan Shan and Zi Yan bicker a bit, while You Yan gets inspired by some cartoons that Zi Yan was doodling. What if they use cartoon characters to try to get more people interested in art on their social media account? Shan Shan and Zi Yan immediately latch onto this idea.

Meanwhile, Zhe Jing gets a call from her grandfather while her team is at work. She uses this opportunity to get him to use his connections to help her team boost their internet traffic and get some commercials. Both Long Li and Xiao Cong stare at her as she hangs up, but Long Li is the one to bring up that perhaps it might be a bit odd for martial arts commercials to incorporate their art-related social media account. Zhe Jing simply responds that martial arts are a form of art too.

Zi Jian shows up with snacks for his friends. Xiao Cong immediately starts staring at him in adoration. He has way more bags than reasonable for three people. The other bags are for You Yan’s team. He asks where they are, and Xiao Cong offers to walk him over.

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You Yan’s team welcome Zi Jian and Xiao Cong with big smiles. Zi Jian unpacks some snacks for the whole team, then goes over to You Yan with a bag just for her. He’s brought some of her favorite snacks, and gives them to her while Xiao Cong watches jealously.

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Xiao Cong decides to leave first, and Zi Jian says he’ll stay a bit longer to chat with them. She looks back sadly at Zi Jian and You Yan as she leaves the room. They look exceptionally close.

Thoughts

This episode tried to get more into the slice-of-life, young adult struggles. And while a lot of the characters’ struggles and troubles are relatable (meaningless internships, not knowing what to do with their college majors), I still have the same complaint I had the past few episodes — this would be great if The Journey from Tonight is White had started out as a different show, but it almost feels like the writers had too many episodes and not enough You Yan and Ye Bai story to tell, so they filled it with something else. It’s a big identity shift for the show, and not necessarily one that I like. These little side stories work well for shows like With You or Stand by Me, which are completely based on the premise of little stories about life and school struggles. But they don’t work so well for a show that from the start seemed like a classic youth romance.

I’m still not loving Xiao Cong’s character. It feels like the writers are trying to create artificial drama with her plot arc, and I’m frustrated by how weak-willed she is and her lack of personality other than her fawning over Zi Jian. Xiao Cong already told You Yan that she let Zhe Jing onto her computer the night that the document was deleted, so I’m not sure why she feels threatened by Zhe Jing revealing that she was the one who entered the password.

It was a bit interesting to see Wei Jia in this episode because it almost seems like she’s on You Yan’s side now? Her comment about Zhe Jing being the catfish in the catfish effect makes it seem like she is purposely setting up You Yan to succeed and Zhe Jing to fail. It’s nice to see Zhe Jing be played for once, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable that Wei Jia would value ability above all else. You Yan’s scores on her evaluation weren’t just made up, so she’s probably proved herself somewhat in Wei Jia’s eyes.

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