Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Suddenly This Summer (Ep. 20)

Recap

Fu Peng storms out after learning that Zhang Yuan signed away the rights to his game. Stunned, Wei Rui flips through the contract. Zhang Yuan angrily slams his laptop shut as he flashes back to the day of the contract signing.

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Zhang Yuan speaks to a representative from the company buying his game, who repeats what Zhang Yuan is telling him: that because Zhang Yuan developed the game independently, he has sole ownership of the rights. Fu Peng was essentially just a sponsor. Zhang Yuan says that as long as the company will agree to the original price, he can sign a contract right then and there.

Zhang Yuan tells Wei Rui the whole story and says he knows he was wrong. She doesn’t seem angry with him, but says that he should have talked things out with Fu Peng instead of going behind his back, and once it was done, he shouldn’t have kept it a secret. She tells him to talk things out with Fu Peng (like a man) and volunteers to help go find him. Zhang Yuan says he wants to talk to him alone.

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Zhang Yuan finds Fu Peng drinking at a restaurant. He asks Fu Peng what he wants him to do: the rights have already been sold and the money already deposited into their bank accounts. This puts Fu Peng on edge and he asks Zhang Yuan if all he cares about is money. Zhang Yuan defensively replies that at least right now, money is important to him. Fu Peng stares hard at Zhang Yuan for a long moment, then suddenly stands up, shoving his chair violently aside and calling Zhang Yuan a “bastard”. He demands to know why Zhang Yuan hid the truth from him for so long.

Zhang Yuan doesn’t say anything and starts to leave. Fu Peng taunts him, asking if he’s going to run away to his shiny new apartment in Beijing that he bought with his money. He keeps talking, trying to get a reaction, and forcefully puts a hand on Zhang Yuan’s arm to turn him around. Zhang Yuan shakes it off and angrily shouts, “That’s enough!” He says that he can make an even better game.

Fu Peng just nods and smirks and grab Zhang Yuan by the collar. Zhang Yuan shakes him off again, throwing him to the ground. The two start fighting. The screen fades to black and all we can hear are sounds of the conflict.

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The next morning, Chang Feng bails Zhang Yuan out of the police station. The police officer tells them they’re lucky the restaurant owner didn’t want to press any charges. Chang Feng asks Zhang Yuan what he’ll do if the school finds out he was fighting and got arrested. Zhang Yuan doesn’t seem concerned about that — he’s more worried about He Luo finding out. Chang Feng swears that he’ll keep it a secret from He Luo.

Zhang Yuan tells Chang Feng to head out first. He wants to sit there alone a bit longer. Once Chang Feng leaves, he pulls out his phone and sends a text to He Luo, claiming that he had a work problem and will have to delay his Beijing trip.

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Da Gang and Lao Gan Ma quietly argue over what to say to Zhang Yuan, but immediately stop when he comes out of the school office. They ask him how it went and he hands over a paper that describes the disciplinary action he’s receiving from the university. It’s not bad, so Da Gang switches to a more important question: who won the fight between him and Fu Peng?

Zhang Yuan tells him not to celebrate other people’s misfortunes, then rejects their offer to go get a meal together.

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He heads to the computer lab, which is empty. Wei Rui comes by shortly after and tells Zhang Yuan that Fu Peng decided to defer his graduation and instead go work at a big Internet company in Shenzhen. Zhang Yuan just nods, looking a bit defeated, and says that this is probably a good time to leave their group and school to go work. Wei Rui asks if he’s okay and he responds that he’s fine. He’s just spent a lot of time thinking and realized that he hasn’t been putting his time in the right places. Right now he should probably work on releasing some patches for the game.

Wei Rui tells him that he doesn’t need to push himself so hard. He smiles a bit sadly at her and tells her not to worry — he’s fine. He asks her to let him be alone for a bit. She reluctantly agrees.

Now that Zhang Yuan isn’t visiting anymore, He Luo studies for the TOEFL instead. Her roommate guesses that deep down, He Luo really wants to find a job abroad. She asks if He Luo has thought about going abroad with Zhang Yuan. A lot of foreign universities have degrees in game design. He Luo says that Zhang Yuan’s English isn’t great. It was a pain trying to tutor him in high school. But her roommate responds that the power of love should be enough to get him to study English properly. He Luo nods and says that she’ll talk to Zhang Yuan about it later.

Zhang Yuan waits nervously at a bus stop and intercepts Fu Peng on his way out. It seems like there aren’t any real hard feelings between them. Fu Peng apologizes for hitting Zhang Yuan first, but acknowledges that his and Zhang Yuan’s paths have diverged. Zhang Yuan says that he deserved to get hit after what he did to Fu Peng. Fu Peng says that they both were true to themselves, and in that way, neither of them are at fault. He also tells Zhang Yuan that right now is the moment to make history with technology and regardless of what their individual motivations are, they owe it to themselves to do their best to help pioneer the next era of gaming.

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Zhang Yuan skips class again, but this time Professor Xu notices and calls his absence out to the class. Wei Rui tries to call Zhang Yuan, but is unable to reach him.

Zhang Yuan has wandered over to the neighborhood where He Luo’s mom lives. He looks up at He Luo’s window and remembers the night several years ago when he threw rocks at her window and they communicated through paper signs. He sends He Luo a text, asking “If halfway through a marathon you realize you’ve been running the wrong way, you should just stop, right?” He Luo responds saying “How could someone be so dumb!”

This gets a smile out of him. He sighs and texts her good night, saying that they will see each other soon.

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Zhang Yuan goes to see Professor Xu, taking a deep breath before he walks in. To his surprise, the first thing Professor Xu does is compliment him on his game, saying that the first thing his son does when he gets home is ask for his cell phone in order to play. However, the professor continues, he’s disappointed with Zhang Yuan’s performance as class president. Zhang Yuan is at risk of not being able to graduate, and the professor thinks that he should prioritize getting back on track with his academics. Zhang Yuan quickly interrupts, saying that he’s not going to school anymore. This isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision: it’s something he’s been thinking about for a while.

Zhang Yuan packs up his belongings while his roommates watch sadly. They ask how he could make such a drastic decision without telling them anything, and ask why he can’t just finish out his classes first: they’re almost done with their third year and they’re SO close to graduation. Zhang Yuan sniffs back some tears, then puts on a joking voice with them, saying that they should be glad he’s freeing up an extra desk in their dorm. But they’re not in the joking mood.

Da Gang blames himself, saying that he pushed Zhang Yuan to pursue his start-up and put these wild ideas in his head. Zhang Yuan tells them that none of them are at fault. His decision has nothing to do with them. Lao Gan Ma gives him words of support, saying that he should do his best so that when none of them can get jobs when they graduate, they can just go to him. He tears up as he says this. Zhang Yuan turns away to hide his own emotions, and tells them they should leave or else they’ll be late for the elective class they’re taking.

Instead of leaving, they each embrace Zhang Yuan. Da Gang tells him to bring He Luo the next time he comes home, saying that they all miss her. His other roommate gives him the business card of a friend who owns a gaming company in Beijing, saying that it might come in handy.

Zhang Yuan pushes them all out of the room against their protests. Only when they’re gone does he allow himself to cry a little. As he’s trying to compose himself, Wei Rui opens the door. He’s surprised she’s come to see him. She admits that before she would have ignored him out of anger, but now she can kind of understand his reasons for leaving.

He thanks her for being his classmate and holds out a hand. She slaps it away, saying that even though they may no longer be classmates, she can still be his partner. Zhang Yuan looks down and says that once word gets out that he drove Fu Peng away, no one will want to work with him. Wei Rui tells him to keep his head up, saying that she believes he can make an even better game. He’ll just need a strong partner like her. She asks what he’ll do next. He responds that he’ll go apartment and office space hunting. “What about He Luo?” she asks.

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He Luo is working in the chemistry lab when Zhang Yuan calls her and says that he’s waiting for her on campus. She dashes off to go meet him. At first, they’re so happy to see each other they just smile. He Luo tells Zhang Yuan that he didn’t have to come if he was really busy. He just gives her a big hug and tells her that now he’ll be able to see her all the time. She guesses that he’s decided to apply to graduate school in Beijing. He doesn’t say anything, so she takes that as a yes, squealing and hugging him in excitement. His face falls and he says quietly, “I quit school.”

He Luo immediately pulls away, face falling as well and repeats his words incredulously. At first she pretends he’s joking, then realizes he spoke the truth. “You never really wanted to apply to grad school did you?” she asks. He responds that he only agreed initially because he wanted to be with her. But now he is with her, without having to apply to grad school. Isn’t this better? “Is it?” she asks.

Zhang Yuan puts on a positive face, saying that completing college isn’t necessary for success anymore. He lists Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg as examples of successful college drop-outs. But He Luo isn’t having any of it. “They’re geniuses,” she says, “Are you?” She calls him arrogant for having such impossibly high goals. When will he learn? Just like at the beginning– the words go unspoken, but they both know she’s talking about how he didn’t get into Huaqing.

Zhang Yuan chuckles in a self-deprecating way and says, “Even you don’t believe I can make you happy?”

He Luo is so worked up that she stands up to respond. “I believe you,” she says, “I’ve always believed in you. But I can’t help but worry about you. After three years of college you just quit when you feel like it. Have you forgotten how hard we worked for the gaokao? What was that for?”

He responds emotionally as well, telling her to open her eyes and look around her. All of the work and effort they put in was all put into her. She was the only one who reaped the rewards of their efforts and he has to spend every day trying to get back what he lost. They’re not restricted to only one path in life. Do they both have to subscribe to whatever meaningless plan they had originally made for themselves?

He Luo responds that maybe the plan was meaningless to him, but she wholeheartedly believed their initial promise to each other and she supposes that she’ll be the one to continue on her boring, predetermined path. In an exciting life plan like his, there’s probably no room for her. She apologizes for wasting his time, then starts to leave.

He grabs her wrist to make her stay. She tries to shake him off but his grip is too strong. Instead, she pulls the promise ring off her finger and hands it back to him, saying it’s too valuable a gift and she can’t accept it. He watches as she leaves.

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He Luo storms back to her dorm room and rips up the calendar she had made earlier in college. Her roommate Xiao Yi asks what’s wrong, but she doesn’t respond. Her phone starts ringing and her roommate asks if she’ll pick up — it’s from Zhang Yuan. He Luo declines the call then asks, “Why should I pick up just because it’s Zhang Yuan?” Xiao Yi says that it’s normal for there to be some conflict when they’re so far apart.

He Luo responds that they’re not far apart: she just saw Zhang Yuan downstairs. She admits to feeling like a failure. She’s spent so long thinking about Zhang Yuan’s happiness and orbiting around him that she’s lost her sense of self. She pulls out her English textbook, saying that she’s going to study English and take the TOEFL and show Zhang Yuan that she can exist without him.

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He Luo goes for a run to clear her head and receives a text from Zhang Yuan, saying he’s on the train back to Haicheng and that he’ll wait until she’s ready to talk. She scoffs at the text, saying to herself, “Who wants to talk?” She doesn’t respond.

Back in Haicheng, Zhang Yuan goes out drinking with Chang Feng, who tells him he should have stayed in Beijing to show how persistent and committed he is and how he won’t be driven away by some small argument. Chang Feng says that he’s much more versed in this than Zhang Yuan.

Zhang Yuan responds that this fight wasn’t like the others. He has a sense that she’s been holding onto these angry feelings for a while and wants to let her cool down first. Chang Feng agrees that letting her cool down could be good, but warns Zhang Yuan not to wait too long or she’ll leave him. Then again, he says, no one will treat her better than Zhang Yuan can. Both she and Yun Wei set too high standards for those around them. Zhang Yuan tells him to appreciate what he has: Yun Wei can probably do just fine without Chang Feng, but Chang Feng probably wouldn’t even be able to take care of himself without her.

Chang Feng grabs Zhang Yuan’s wallet and starts trying to take a picture of his debit card. Thinking he’s up to no good again, Zhang Yuan pulls it away, but Chang Feng explains that he wants to deposit money into Zhang Yuan’s account. He recently got some money from his father and wants to invest it into Zhang Yuan’s company.

Zhang Yuan seems moved by the offer but tells Chang Feng to think over it carefully. Zhang Yuan can find other methods of getting money, but this money that Chang Feng has is important and he should be careful what he does with it. Chang Feng tells him that he’s not investing in Zhang Yuan because he’s his friend: he’s doing it because he believes in Zhang Yuan’s ability.

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The two are both drunk by the end of the night. Chang Feng offers Zhang Yuan a ride home, but Zhang Yuan rejects the offer and seems more clear-headed than Chang Feng. Chang Feng guesses that Zhang Yuan wants to use his drunkenness as an excuse to call He Luo. Sure enough, once Chang Feng is gone, Zhang Yuan pulls up He Luo’s contact on his phone. But then he decides against calling her.

He Luo’s roommates chat in chemistry lab about He Luo and how she’s always studying for the TOEFL. It’s pretty much the only thing she does now. Ye Zhi complains that seeing He Luo study so hard makes her feel like she needs to work harder too, since she’s also taking the TOEFL. Xiao Yi asks Ye Zhi if she thinks He Luo and Zhang Yuan will break up for real. Ye Zhi says there’s no way — she’s certain that they’ll make up after a little while.

He Luo and Tian Xin meet up for coffee. Tian Xin seems offended by the fact that Zhang Yuan hasn’t contacted He Luo at all. He Luo thinks that it isn’t such a bad thing. Ye Zhi calls her crazy. He Luo wonders if she was too extreme in her response to Zhang Yuan, abandoning him after he came all this way to see her. But, she says, she was really so angry. Tian Xin says that He Luo was reasonable. If she were He Luo, it would be a completely different story. Knowing that he was collaborating with a pretty girl on a game would drive her nuts.

He Luo didn’t know that Zhang Yuan’s developer partner was Wei Rui. “What pretty girl?” she asks Tian Xin. Tian Xin tells her who it is, and He Luo responds with a small “oh”. Tian Xin realizes that He Luo didn’t know and tells He Luo not to take it to heart. After all, Zhang Yuan is practically a saint. But He Luo just changes the topic and asks Tian Xin what her plans are for the night.

Tian Xin says that one of her senior classmates invited her out to celebrate his signing a deal. She thinks that he might like her. He Luo asks to tag along. Tian Xin warns her that it might not be her scene, but He Luo wants to go and Tian Xin acquiesces.

Feng Xiao visits his grandfather but is preoccupied with texting He Luo. His grandfather is entertaining a friend’s granddaughter, Xiao Min, and asks Feng Xiao to show her around.

Feng Xiao takes Xiao Min out to dinner. Afterward, he asks her how she enjoyed dinner and tells her about a female friend (He Luo?) who is a very talented eater. Xiao Min says that she normally doesn’t eat a lot for dinner since she doesn’t want to have to work off the extra weight. Feng Xiao makes a face at this. Xiao Min asks him to take her out to somewhere fun. He checks the time and says that they should probably head back — it’s getting late. Xiao Min responds that the night is just getting started.

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They run into Tian Xin trying to take care of a drunk, vomiting He Luo. Feng Xiao immediately rushes over, concerned. He Luo’s still conscious enough to recognize him. Feng Xiao immediately shoves Xiao Min into a taxi, apologizing for ditching her. She protests, saying she didn’t agree to leaving, but the taxi drives off before she can say anything else.

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Feng Xiao goes back to He Luo and Tian Xin and offers to send them back to campus. He thinks that Tian Xin should stay the night in He Luo’s dorm and make sure she’s okay. Tian Xin agrees, but her friends come by and tell her that a producer she’s been wanting to meet is coming by right now. He’s flying out to Hong Kong the next day and this is her only opportunity to meet with him. Tian Xin looks torn. Feng Xiao makes the decision for her, saying that he can take care of He Luo and that she should go meet with the producer.

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Feng Xiao and He Luo go for a walk so that He Luo can sober up a bit. He Luo rambles about how the night air feels so good and it’s so much better than in the winter when the wind can practically blow a person off the sidewalk. Feng Xiao says that as long as he’s walking with her, he’ll keep her tied down. She smiles drunkenly at him and tells him he’s a good person.

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Some fireworks go off and He Luo watches them in fascination, saying that they look like shooting stars. She asks Feng Xiao if he’s ever thought about whether fireworks are round or flat. He smiles at her indulgently, then reaches out to grab her hand. Her drunken smile turns sad at the physical contact, but she doesn’t pull away.

Thoughts

Okay so I didn’t expect Zhang Yuan’s workplace deception to escalate so much that it would create such a rift between him and He Luo. But I also didn’t expect him to completely quit school. Again, the conflict between him and He Luo is a direct result of some inherent lack of communication between them. At least this time he didn’t lie to He Luo and instead immediately told her the truth instead of letting her believe some unspoken lie. Not that it really worked out in his favor…

This episode continues to emphasize how stubborn and rigid He Luo is in her beliefs. It’s something that she seems to recognize in herself, but I also respect her desire to establish her own identity separate from Zhang Yuan. It’s true that she’s let herself be a bit too consumed by her relationship, so much so that perhaps it’s blinded her to what Zhang Yuan really wants. Instead, she just imposed her own desires onto him.

At this point, I’m not sure if I want Zhang Yuan and He Luo to get back together just yet… I think they both need to mature into their relationship a bit more and maybe that means spending some time apart and realizing who they are as individuals. Also I think it’ll be fun to see what comes of Feng Xiao making moves and throwing himself into the mix.

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