Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Suddenly This Summer (Ep. 12)

Recap

He Luo struggles to solve a math problem, lamenting at how different the college learning pace is compared to high school. Her friend and roommate, Ye Zhi, shows up with a magazine, asking her which look is better. She’s trying to decide what to wear for the upcoming school dance that Feng Xiao is organizing. He Luo is surprised because she didn’t know about this school dance, much less that Feng Xiao was organizing it. Besides, she’s too busy trying to keep up with her studies, she doesn’t have time for school dances.

While her roommates prep for the school dance, He Luo videochats with Zhang Yuan. They chat a bit and then schedule to regularly videochat on Wednesdays after trying to work around both their schedules.

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Zhang Yuan goes out drinking with Chang Feng and Yun Wei. He tells them that he wants to go to Beijing for their upcoming break.

After class, He Luo admits to her friends that even though their math professor only assigned one problem for homework, she can barely understand the problem. But it seems like she’s the only one: her friends were all able to solve the problem. After they leave, she says to herself that if Zhang Yuan were here, she would also be able to solve the problem.

As she walks across campus, she runs into Feng Xiao. He begs her to help him find dance dates for some of his friends. After he begs a bit, she relents and agrees to help.

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He Luo stays up late struggling to solve her math problem. Zhang Yuan is also up late and messages her. She decides to ask him for help, promising to herself that this will be the only time.

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He Luo and Tian Xin meet up for the first time since moving to Beijing. He Luo asks her for help in finding some girls to be dance dates for Huaqing guys. Tian Xin agrees to help, and He Luo tells her to make sure that none of the girls are too good-looking. Tian Xin asks He Luo how far her relationship with Zhang Yuan has progressed, but is disappointed to hear that they haven’t even really hugged much yet.

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Zhang Yuan is busy solving He Luo’s math problem during one of his lectures. His friend looks at what he’s doing and is surprised to see that Zhang Yuan knows math a semester more advanced than what they’re studying. Zhang Yuan solves the problem and sends a triumphant text to He Luo. His friend asks if this is how he got a girlfriend.

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It turns out that Yun Wei is in the class after Zhang Yuan’s and they run into each other in between classes. Yun Wei gives Zhang Yuan some apples while Wei Rui, who was in Zhang Yuan’s class, watches with interest. Yun Wei asks Zhang Yuan why he dropped out of their shared class on Wednesdays and Zhang Yuan admits that it was the only time he could videochat with He Luo, so he dropped the class.

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Wei Rui and Yun Wei run into each other at the package center, with Yun Wei paying for Wei Rui’s package when she can’t find her money. Yun Wei recognizes Wei Rui as Zhang Yuan’s co-president, but has to rush off to class before Wei Rui can speak to her more.

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Wei Rui catches up with Yun Wei later on campus and returns the money she owes. She asks Yun Wei about her relationship with Zhang Yuan, saying that she’s noticed them talking a lot and getting meals together. Yun Wei explains that her boyfriend and Zhang Yuan are friends, and that she is best friends with Zhang Yuan’s girlfriend. Wei Rui says that she thinks Zhang Yuan’s girlfriend must be one of those cute, helpless types. Yun Wei responds that she must think too poorly of Zhang Yuan’s tastes then. She says that He Luo is an interesting girl who at first doesn’t seem like the same kind of person as Zhang Yuan, but they work well together and are soul mates.

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During He Luo and Zhang Yuan’s next videochat, neither of them are in their dorm rooms. Zhang Yuan is at the computer lab while He Luo is at the chemistry lab. He Luo starts performing a crazy rendition of a song, singing into a beaker, while Zhang Yuan laughs. Once she’s done, Zhang Yuan tells her that he will go to Beijing for their upcoming fall break. She’s so stunned she looks like she might cry. They decide to go on a “date” together that night by watching a movie together at the same time while on video chat.

He Luo gets called in to meet with her math professor, Professor Li. He wants to talk about how she solved his last homework question, since she was the only one to get it correct. He Luo admits that she didn’t solve it — she asked her boyfriend for help. Professor Li is surprised to hear that her boyfriend doesn’t go to Huaqing, and laments that such a brilliant student isn’t under his tutelage.

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He Luo goes to help Feng Xiao with the school dance and greets the girls that Tian Xin has sent over. Feng Xiao comes outside and tells He Luo to hurry and go get dressed, assuming that she would be his date, but she says that she never agreed to that. Instead, she sits and waits outside.

Feng Xiao finds some time and leaves the dance to keep her company, asking her if she’s embarrassed to be his date to the dance. She says that she doesn’t want to go to the dance with anyone except the person she likes, and her boyfriend isn’t here. She picks up her phone and Feng Xiao notices her desktop wallpaper, recognizing it as Summer Records. She’s surprised that he knows the manga, and he tells her how he found it while in America for a summer.

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Yun Wei cheerfully tackles Chang Feng with a hug on campus, announcing that she won the scholarship she had been going for. Chang Feng responds that she shouldn’t have to worry so much about money. After all, he’s working and doing business now, partly to prove to his father that he can, and partly so that he can support her.

Yun Wei tells Chang Feng about a different concern she has: Wei Rui. She feels like the girl has a special interest in Zhang Yuan and is concerned for He Luo. Chang Feng tells her to not worry so much and that Zhang Yuan isn’t the type to stray.

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He Luo jealously watches the couples on campus around her while eating lunch. Ye Zhi sits down next to her and reminds her that she’ll be able to see Zhang Yuan soon. She asks He Luo where Zhang Yuan will stay, and is shocked that He Luo would let Zhang Yuan stay alone in a hotel room. She waves Feng Xiao over and manages to convince him to let Zhang Yuan stay in his dorm room. He Luo just smiles a bit awkwardly at this.

He Luo goes to the train station to greet Cheng Jie, who has finally come to Beijing. He’s disappointed that Tian Xin isn’t there. He’s brought a lot of luggage because he plans on transferring to a film school in Beijing. He Luo asks if he’s coming to Beijing because of Tian Xin and says that he should have told her first. He says that he will when they see each other.

Tian Xin is late to meet them at the restaurant, but Cheng Jie insists on waiting. When she finally does arrive, she greets He Luo warmly while barely greeting Cheng Jie. Cheng Jie tells her that he’s transferring to Beijing. She immediately reacts negatively, asking if he’s drunk and treating him coldly. He says that he’s not moving because of her. He’s not like Chang Feng and doesn’t have a family business to fall back on in their hometown. So instead he thought he’d try and pursue art in Beijing, where more of his friends are.

He Luo calls Yun Wei to gossip about Cheng Jie moving to Beijing. He Luo thinks that Cheng Jie definitely did it because of Tian Xin, despite what he said. Yun Wei reports the happy news that she won the full scholarship so she won’t have to worry about the next four years of college. He Luo reminds her that she has Chang Feng, but Yun Wei confides her own insecurities about the relationship and how she was worried that Chang Feng didn’t like her for who she was but for what she represented. He Luo tells her not to worry so much. They laugh at the role reversal and how He Luo is now the one trying to coach Yun Wei whereas before Yun Wei was the one trying to encourage He Luo in her relationship.

Their conversation is interrupted when He Luo receives another call. It’s Zhang Yuan. He has some bad news: the train station was too busy so he was unable to get tickets. It looks like he won’t be going to Beijing after all.

Thoughts

I continue to really love these slice-of-life type college scenes. Perhaps I’m biased because I went through a lot of the same issues and can relate, but isn’t it great that these kinds of issues are so relatable across countries and cultures? This episode hit on a lot more than just the issue of trying to maintain a long-distance relationship, but that part is perhaps what I find the most relatable: having to schedule videochats and make sacrifices to make them happen, and missing out or feeling bad about social events involving couples because a significant other isn’t physically present.

But the issues outside of Zhang Yuan and He Luo’s relationship are what I find more meaningful about this episode. We have He Luo feeling a bit of imposter syndrome as she sees her classmates appear to effortlessly understand course material while she struggles (but we also see that they aren’t any more successful in solving that tough math problem, so perhaps they’re all just faking it as well). There’s Cheng Jie who struggles to figure out what to do next now that traditional college and working aren’t an option for him. And Yun Wei, who is happy in her relationship with Chang Feng but can’t quite let herself fully embrace or believe it yet.

Feng Xiao and Wei Rui continue to hang out in the periphery, not quite making their moves just yet, but their romantic interest in He Luo and Zhang Yuan respectively are obvious. Feng Xiao seems to me like this giant, benign puppy right now, while Wei Rui is a bit more sneaky and cat-like with her investigation into Zhang Yuan’s relationship.

Will this derailment of Zhang Yuan’s plans to visit He Luo provide an opportunity for the romantic rivals to make their move? We’ll see in the next episode!

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