Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Suddenly This Summer (Ep. 9)

The last summer after high school is one full of joy and heartbreak, and our characters get to find this out the hard way.

Recap

He Luo nervously checks her college acceptance result and is overjoyed to find out she made it into Huaqing. Tian Xin and Yun Wei also get into their top-choice colleges, but the boys have worse luck. Cheng Jie doesn’t get into his first or second choice, and Zhang Yuan doesn’t have a chance to say himself what his results were because everyone assumes that he got into Huaqing, but it doesn’t look good.

Cheng Jie is heartbroken and everyone else is shocked when Tian Xin announces that she’s dating someone: a guy named Wang Rui from her art exam prep class. He Luo and Zhang Yuan discuss Cheng Jie’s situation on their walk home. He Luo says she’d rather be lied to forever than have her heart broken in such a straightforward manner. She then asks Zhang Yuan about which university he got into. He evasively responds that everything worked out fine and that he’s just waiting for his admission letter. He Luo celebrates.

The friends all meet up for a trip to the beach together. Things get a little awkward when Tian Xin brings along her new boyfriend, Wang Rui. Everyone else looks unhappy but no one says anything.

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It soon becomes clear that Wang Rui lacks personality. He spends most of the day hunting for cell signal so that he can stay in contact with his friends, then claims that the ocean breeze is giving him a headache. Tian Xin goes to hang out with He Luo and Yun Wei instead, and they play at fortune telling with cards. They get Zhang Yuan and Chang Feng to join in. But things get a little awkward when the cards say that He Luo isn’t number one in Zhang Yuan’s heart.

At night, Cheng Jie finds Tian Xin alone and tries to feel out if he has a chance with her. But she firmly tells him that she likes their friendship too much to want to date him. Out of all the guys she knows, he’s the best, and she wouldn’t want to change that.

He Luo and Zhang Yuan close out the summer by playing video games at the arcade again. He Luo beats Zhang Yuan, and they joke that He Luo is now Zhang Yuan’s “goddess”. He Luo surprises Zhang Yuan with a recorded, personalized video message from his favorite basketball player, Dwight Howard. He freaks out in excitement. He Luo adds that she got tickets to an event with Dwight Howard next year in Beijing. The mention of Beijing darkens Zhang Yuan’s mood and he says that they should go.

On the way out of the mall, he gets distracted by a new laptop on display. He Luo notices that he seems interested, and teases him about denying his interest when she can tell that he wants the laptop. She jokingly calls him a liar, but this makes his face fall (because he is one!) He turns to her and seems to want to tell her the truth, but instead invites her out to get pizza.

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Cheng Jie drinks alone at a bar, feeling sorry for himself after being friend-zoned by Tian Xin. Tian Xin’s boyfriend, Wang Rui, also happens to be there hanging out with his friends. Cheng Jie overhears Wang Rui dissing Tian Xin and calling her boring and too innocent. He tries to start a fight with him, and Chang Feng has to rush over and drag him outside.

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Cheng Jie asks Chang Feng to not tell anyone about what happened, then switches gears and asks what his plans are now that they’ve graduated. He’s clearly rethinking his own plans of going to Beijing now that he didn’t get into college and after being rejected by Tian Xin. But when asked, Cheng Jie says that he’ll go to Beijing. He’ll keep chasing after Tian Xin forever.

He Luo and Zhang Yuan meet up for ice cream. Admission letters have arrived at school, and He Luo invites Zhang Yuan to go with her to pick up their letters. He evasively says that he’s busy and tells her to go ahead. She says that they should buy their train tickets to Beijing together and starts acting out a romanticized version of their departure from their hometown. Zhang Yuan looks uncomfortable and studiously eats his ice cream.

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He asks He Luo if she was happy this summer, and when she asks why, responds that he hopes she’ll be able to remember it forever. She says that she will and that no one summer will ever be like this one. And the best part of the summer was being with him. He urges her to go to the school, saying that he needs to head home first and that he’ll see her later. Once she’s gone, he starts crying silently.

All the teachers are waiting at school to congratulate He Luo on being the only student accepted to Huaqing. She says that they must be mistaken because Zhang Yuan also got into Huaqing. But the truth comes out — Zhang Yuan is going to Haicheng University (Haida). He Luo is stunned, and asks Director Qiu what Zhang Yuan’s gaokao score was. It was 669, ten points lower than what he told He Luo, and just below the cutoff to get into Huaqing. He Luo abruptly leaves with Zhang Yuan’s admission letter in hand.

He Luo and Zhang Yuan meet on the school grounds, where He Luo confronts Zhang Yuan about his lie. She says that she was only happy all summer because she thought they would still be together afterward. She demands to know why he lied this whole time, and he says that he just wanted her to be happy. He Luo says that without him, everything else is meaningless. She throws her admission letter to the ground and runs off, crying, while Zhang Yuan cries as well.

Thoughts

Well of course the idyllic summer couldn’t last forever and now we have angst! So much angst! But it’s hard to fault either He Luo or Zhang Yuan for this situation. Sure, Zhang Yuan could have handled it better, but I feel like he wanted to tell He Luo the truth at several different points, but was misled by her at the beginning of the summer when she said that she’d rather be lied to than be brutally hurt in one fell swoop. He took that statement to heart just a little too much, but you can’t fault him for trying to keep her happy and doing what he felt was best. It’s all just such a classic drama misunderstanding!

This angst is the first real drama we’ve seen from this show, so I’m really curious to see how it’ll play out. Handling drama well can make or break a show. I hope that this one can keep things entertaining without turning everything into a tearful, convoluted mess!

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