Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Suddenly This Summer (Ep. 11)

College starts and Zhang Yuan and He Luo must learn how to navigate their new long-distance relationship while balancing it with budding social lives at school.

Recap

School starts for Zhang Yuan and He Luo in their separate cities. Zhang Yuan has mandatory military training at school while He Luo falls ill. Her roommates seem like great friends though, because they take good care of her when she’s sick and tease her about her relationship with Zhang Yuan. Zhang Yuan and He Luo exchange frequent texts, phone calls, and letters. He Luo convinces Zhang Yuan to call her every day until they can see each other again.

The girls in Zhang Yuan’s training group whine about there not being anything fun around. The teacher gets Zhang Yuan to show them around town since he’s the only student who is from there, but he has no interest in the girls and calls He Luo to complain.

He Luo is in the locker room cleaning up after a shower when a fellow student, Feng Xiao, accidentally rolls his basketball in. He goes in the doorway to retrieve it and upon seeing He Luo, immediately freaks out and turns away, saying he didn’t see anything. She doesn’t even react, but he insists on following her and apologizing profusely.

Later that day, one of He Luo’s friends tells her that someone has written an apology letter to her and posted it on the school bulletin board, where it’s attracted a crowd. He Luo immediately goes and tears it down, then confronts Feng Xiao about it. She’s angry that he’s blown the incident out of proportion and publicized it across campus and tells him to leave her alone. (Ironic considering she’s confronting him very publicly!)

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At night, He Luo’s roommates gossip about how she’s essentially attracted the attention of every male on campus with her actions. But it doesn’t really matter, because she already has a boyfriend. He Luo just looks annoyed by the attention.

Zhang Yuan goes to the manga cafe and asks Brother Wang if he has the latest volume of Summer Records in stock. He buys both of them.

He Luo dreams that Zhang Yuan is playing basketball on campus. She tries to call out to him but he doesn’t hear her and they’re separated by a fence. She tries to find a different way through but when she turns back, the basketball court is empty and Zhang Yuan is gone. She texts Zhang Yuan to tell him that she dreamed of him and they chat for a bit on the phone.

She goes to eat breakfast in the cafeteria, pointedly ignoring Feng Xiao who sees her and tries to wave her over. Not to be dissuaded, he sits himself down next to her. She tries to leave, but he convinces her to stay and asks what he can do to change her opinion of him. She just wants him to leave her alone. She lets him stay where he is as long as he stays silent for the rest of the meal.

But he doesn’t stay silent for long and points out a bug in her bing. He Luo is grossed out, but Feng Xiao acts quickly and takes a photo of the bug with her phone. Then he runs off, and she’s forced to follow him all the way to dean’s office. Afraid of attracting attention and causing trouble, she starts to leave, but the door opens before she can. The dean thanks Feng Xiao and He Luo for their zeal in wanting to solve problems and says that he’ll address the cafeteria situation promptly.

Zhang Yuan’s new friends talk about who should be class president. One of their female classmates, Zhang Wei Rui, walks by with a friend and says that she feels like she’d be a good class president. At the same time, one of Zhang Yuan’s friends, Da Gang, says that Zhang Yuan would make a good class president. He would vote for him. This attracts Wei Rui’s attention and she confronts Zhang Yuan.

At first Zhang Yuan says he’s not interested in being president, but Wei Rui says that the class president has to be the best programmer in their department. She seems intent on challenging Zhang Yuan even though he repeats that he’s not interested. Wei Rui mentions how she heard he’s been programming since middle school and almost made it into Huaqing. Zhang Yuan takes the bait and says that he’ll compete with her, making her smile. Wei Rui proposes that they each try to hack into the other’s computer. Whoever does it first is the winner. He agrees.

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He Luo and Feng Xiao exit the cafeteria together after a meal and are approached by a group of fellow first years. They thank Feng Xiao for advocating for the student body with regards to the cafeteria food and say that they want to nominate him to organize the new student Mid-Autumn Festival event. Feng Xiao tries to convince He Luo to help him by plying her with food. Looks like he already knows the way to her heart!

That night, Zhang Yuan and his roommates return to their room, exhausted, and climb into bed. Meanwhile, Wei Rui is busy trying to hack into Zhang Yuan’s computer. Zhang Yuan’s roommates notice all the computers in the room suddenly turn on. Zhang Yuan jumps into action to defend against Wei Rui’s attack. With a few keystrokes, he shuts off the power in her building. But Wei Rui’s laptop still has battery power and she retaliates by shutting off power in his building.

The school’s IT guy notices a spike in internet activity and makes a phone call. Right as Zhang Yuan is about to make a killing strike against Wei Rui, the internet cuts out. A teacher comes by to investigate.

Zhang Yuan and Wei Rui are both brought before their head professor who lectures them for overloading the campus network. Zhang Yuan tries to take responsibility, saying that he acted first. But the professor teaches computer networks — he knows who acted first.

Wei Rui speaks up, saying that she was at fault. She just wanted to test his computer skills after hearing that he wanted to be class president, and admits that he’s pretty good and well-suited for the job. Zhang Yuan also responds saying that Wei Rui’s skills are pretty formidable and that she’d make a good class president.

The professor says that they can be co-presidents, ignoring Zhang Yuan’s protests that he doesn’t even want to be class president. Furthermore, he puts them in charge of improving the campus’s network security. If something like this happens again, they’ll be responsible. He asks them if they have any problems with this, and Zhang Yuan immediately responds yes with complaints about how outdated the school network’s firewall is. Wei Rui also jumps in with technical complaints of her own on the network security’s design. They’re able to find some common ground, but unfortunately for them the professor reveals that he was the one to design the school network’s security features. They try to backtrack but it’s a bit too late.

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The next morning, He Luo helps Feng Xiao set up for the Mid-Autumn Festival event. She gets a text but ignores it. Feng Xiao notices. He Luo makes a face and says that she had been stood up all night so she doesn’t feel like responding. Trying to be a nice guy, Feng Xiao says that he’s okay prepping by himself if He Luo has other plans. She starts to leave, which he clearly didn’t expect, so he convinces her to stay.

Zhang Yuan’s friends run off after they lose a game to him, leaving him alone. Wei Rui notices and goes over to chat about the night before. They compliment each other on their hacking skills, and Wei Rui tries to ask him out, but Zhang Yuan is clearly distracted by his phone and doesn’t notice.

Later, Zhang Yuan’s roommates invite Wei Rui out to dinner. They spot Zhang Yuan and try to invite him too. He seems reluctant, looking at his phone, but relents, saying he has no other plans anyway.

He Luo and Feng Xiao take a break after setting up for the Mid-Autumn Festival. He Luo laments how all their hard work was for nothing, since no one seemed to appreciate any of it. Feng Xiao says that it’s the process that mattered. He gets up to prep for his performance which involves writing calligraphy on stage. He Luo thinks that his talent is a bit too boring and will probably be poorly received by the audience. He argues that it’ll be nice to have a nice, peaceful break in the show. They banter a little more and then Feng Xiao heads out. He Luo takes a look at her watch and panics when she realizes that she’s late for her and Zhang Yuan’s phone call.

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Zhang Yuan and friends leave the restaurant after dinner. They want to go play DOTA at an internet cafe, but Zhang Yuan is distracted. His phone is low on battery and he’s waiting on He Luo’s phone call. He tells them to go without him and leaves before anyone can say anything.

He Luo calls Zhang Yuan and they chat a little about their day. He Luo asks Zhang Yuan if he can see the moon. She thinks that the moon in Beijing is a bit different from the moon back home. It seems larger. But while they’re in the middle of chatting about this, Zhang Yuan’s battery dies and the call drops.

He Luo sighs and says to herself that it’d be great if Zhang Yuan were here with her. He also sighs and looks up at the moon, wondering if they’re even looking at the same moon.

Thoughts

As someone who was in a long-distance relationship throughout college, including my first year, this episode resonated with me SO MUCH. I really liked how this episode was very slice-of-life, with no real plot but instead showing snippets of what it’s like to start college in a new place with a new set of people while also trying to balance a long-distance relationship. The struggle between hanging out with new friends or spending some time alone in order to make that phone call to maintain the relationship, and the struggle of sometimes a phone call being not quite enough — I can relate to all of that.

Feng Xiao and Wei Rui are both being set up as romantic rivals for Zhang Yuan and He Luo, but I like how they’re subtly worming their way in as just good friends first. They aren’t replacements for the significant others that are there in spirit but not there physically. Instead, Feng Xiao and Wei Rui each provide something new to their friendships with He Luo and Zhang Yuan. Feng Xiao challenges He Luo in a different way than Zhang Yuan did. In fact, their friendship is perhaps even more equal because He Luo has already managed to prove herself as intelligent, and doesn’t need to prove anything to Feng Xiao. And Wei Rui is able to challenge Zhang Yuan intellectually in a way that He Luo couldn’t with her own hacking skills.

It’ll be interesting to see where the show takes these friendships and how they’ll impact Zhang Yuan and He Luo’s relationship.

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