He Luo and Zhang Yuan’s friendship continues to blossom. They start to gain more respect for each other and find some common ground, while their friends start to tease them about their relationship.
He Luo tries to convince Zhang Yuan to listen to Teacher Lin and study English with her, but he refuses. Cheng Jie gets roped into organizing their class’s sports team for the school’s upcoming athletics day, but no one wants to sign up. Tian Xin texts He Luo teasing her about her and Zhang Yuan, saying that the height difference between them is supposedly the ideal height difference for a couple. Zhang Yuan learns from Yun Wei that He Luo is afraid of losing and she often feels that way right before a race. He apologizes to her for the way he treated her before, but still refuses to be study buddies with her. Instead, he volunteers to run the 1500m for the school athletic event as a challenge to He Luo. She says that she’ll run in the 1500m too.
Zheng Qing Yin, a girl from the year below Zhang Yuan and He Luo who is both pretty and smart, starts asking Zhang Yuan to be her co-representative for the school athletic event. It’s obvious that she has a crush on him and that he has no interest in her, but he’s pretty good at letting her down gently and she is persistent.
He Luo is clearly jealous, but also refuses to do anything about it. Tian Xin tries to help wingwoman her one day after school, getting Zhang Yuan’s attention, but Qing Yin intercepts him. Looking for an excuse to get away from her, Zhang Yuan asks He Luo if she needed any help, but He Luo says no and walks off. Qing Yin tries to get Zhang Yuan to go with her, but when he sees He Luo and Tian Xin leave, he makes a quick excuse and tries to follow after them.
The day of the school athletic event, He Luo hides in the stairwell while Zhang Yuan, Cheng Jie, Chang Feng, Tian Xin, and Yun Wei run around campus frantically, looking for her. They think she’s probably run off to hide because she’s nervous about losing the race. But Zhang Yuan has to run in his event so he goes off to do that. He’s so concerned about He Luo that he starts off sprinting. He Luo hears the announcer talking about Zhang Yuan’s unconventional race strategy.
Zhang Yuan collapses about 50m out from the finish line, but suddenly He Luo runs onto the track and lifts him up. She starts running alongside him and then their friends join in as well, encouraging him until they reach the finish line. Having finished the race, Zhang Yuan challenges He Luo to now run her race. They cheer her on and she wins.
Zhang Yuan and He Luo hang out in the stands after the event ends. He Luo talks about how she really wants to go to Beijing and watch the Olympics. Zhang Yuan makes a deal with her, saying that if she gets into college in Beijing, he’ll buy her tickets to the Olympics. She holds him to it, and then tells him that he has to agree to study English with her.
Sure enough, they begin tutoring each other and He Luo seems pretty happy to turn the tables on Zhang Yuan. She’s also making pretty good progress in her own science studies.
They walk home together and shove each other playfully. He Luo says that her goal is to score in the top ten for their class on the next midterms. Zhang Yuan believes that she can do it as long as she’s willing to put in the work. He Luo asks Zhang Yuan where he would want to go if he had a time machine. He says that he wouldn’t want to go anywhere — he’s pretty happy where he is right now.
Qing Yin and a friend spot He Luo and Zhang Yuan walking together. She frowns upon seeing them. The next morning, she purposely seeks out He Luo and asks where Zhang Yuan is, then makes a comment about how she thought everyone who wanted to talk to Zhang Yuan had to go through her. Qing Yin spots Zhang Yuan and asks him for some old textbooks while He Luo watches them with a frown on her face. Zhang Yuan keeps glancing over at her even while Qing Yin is talking.
Tian Xin teases He Luo about her relationship with Zhang Yuan. He Luo instead frets about studying, saying that studying and doing well is the only way that she’ll be happy. She has no time for boys.
But when Qing Yin drops by their classroom with some cake for Zhang Yuan, He Luo pettily pretends to help a fellow classmate with his English while eavesdropping on Zhang Yuan and Qing Yin. She pretends she doesn’t care, but clearly does. Zhang Yuan tries to mess with her and she just glares at him,
Zhang Yuan shoots some baskets during break and Chang Feng and Cheng Jie try to scope out his opinion on Qing Yin versus He Luo. Zhang Yuan ignores their attempts to read more into the situation and says that Qing Yin is a classmate whereas He Luo is a “war buddy”.
The next midterms come around and Zhang Yuan finishes way earlier than everyone else. He tries to hand in his exam, but the teacher announces that no students are allowed to hand in their exams early this time.
The introduction of Zheng Qing Yin as a “rival” is fun because she’s the best kind of romantic rival — one who has zero real chances but whose presence is enough to force our main couple to start thinking about who they are to each other.
I really liked seeing Zhang Yuan and He Luo’s friendship progress. They have a great bantering relationship and they’re building a lot of mutual respect for each other. He Luo tutoring Zhang Yuan in English also brings a little more balance to the power dynamic between them, and I love that Zhang Yuan is so supportive of He Luo rather than trying to emphasize how dumb she is. That’s something that I didn’t really like about With You, that Yu Huai seemed to lord over Geng Geng how much smarter he was. Zhang Yuan sometimes has that arrogance show through, but I think it was so important when he told He Luo that she could totally get into the top 10 if she worked hard. He believes in her ability.
The little moments throughout this episode are great, like the way that Zhang Yuan is always looking at He Luo, and the small, petty ways that she expresses her jealousy even though she doesn’t seem to recognize that jealousy is what she’s feeling. I hope the show is able to sustain all these great things!