Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: Suddenly This Summer (Ep. 29)

This is the penultimate episode of the show — we’re so close to the end! Will Zhang Yuan make his move to get He Luo back? Or will he not? Or will he be too late?

Recap

Over dinner, Feng Xiao mentions that he’ll be going to New Jersey with his professor for a half year working on a collaboration at a university over there. Then he brings up the topic of marriage (without actually saying the word “marriage”), saying his parents don’t want him to string He Luo along. There’s no pressure, but he just wants to gauge what He Luo is feeling. She claims that the question is too complicated for her to think about right now. He repeats that there’s no rush and that he likes how they are now. She agrees.

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They hang out in their car by the shore. Feng Xiao moves in for a kiss and she doesn’t resist. (Is this their first time kissing?? It’s definitely the first time on screen…) His hand creeps up her waist and she gently pushes it aside. He pulls away and she turns away from him.

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He Luo hosts a house party with some of her fellow graduate students. One of the friends talks about how she has some friends with a similar relationship trajectory as Feng Xiao and He Luo. Now they’re married with a kid and green cards and have essentially become Americans. They all half-joke that Feng Xiao and He Luo will soon become a Chinese-American couple like them. But He Luo doesn’t look super happy about it and leaves the table abruptly.

She gets a phone call from Tian Xin with some big news: her most recent project is filming in Los Angeles. She’s coming to America and can visit He Luo!

It’s Zhang Yuan’s last day at Loong. Director Li tries to convince Zhang Yuan to stay, saying that he’s irreplaceable and they won’t be able to find anyone to fill his shoes. In fact, he wants Zhang Yuan to stay so much that he read Summer Records and has decided that if Zhang Yuan develops a demo for the game, he will consider funding it and developing the game in-house.

Guo Guo and Ma De Xin tell Zhang Yuan that they’ll miss him, but will follow and support him no matter what he does. Wei Rui says that she’s planning on taking a break and traveling for a while. She tells Zhang Yuan that when she gets back, he has to have good news to tell her.

Yun Wei is on a business trip in Beijing and meets up with Zhang Yuan that afternoon. She’s in a rush to return home because her grandmother had a bad fall and was injured. She was considering taking a position in Shenzhen that had higher pay and better career advancement opportunities, but then realized that she could never stray too far from home. At least she has family and friends nearby and that’s enough for her.

Zhang Yuan confesses that he has more free time now and has time to think about all the possibilities with He Luo. If she’s happy now, should he just leave her be? He imagines seeing her again sometime in the future and asking, “How have you been?”

Yun Wei asks Zhang Yuan why he broke up with He Luo if he was still in love with her and still thinks about her to this day. She tells him that his greatest flaw is that he’s too proud to recognize when he’s lost.

“Have I ever lost?” he responds, half-joking. She tells him that Feng Xiao proposed to He Luo.

He’s shocked. She tells him that every time he hesitates, the distance between him and He Luo grows wider. She shows Zhang Yuan a postcard from He Luo in which she finally acknowledged she had to move on. (It literally says, “A child without an umbrella has to run,” but the general meaning is that there’s nowhere to go but forward for her.)

He Luo helps Feng Xiao pack for his trip. He tells her he’ll miss her and she just nods. He hugs her and kisses her head. She accepts it emotionlessly and looks torn as he drives off.

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Yun Wei gets married and the high school friends reunite, all except for He Luo who isn’t able to make it. They call He Luo on speaker phone and offer to put Zhang Yuan on. He smiles nervously at the opportunity and reaches out for the phone, but she says there’s no need because she’s busy, and quickly says her goodbyes and well-wishes and hangs up. Zhang Yuan’s face falls. Yun Wei asks Zhang Yuan when he’s going to go get He Luo back and he struggles to keep a smile on his face.

Later, Zhang Yuan receives a package. It’s from Brother Wang, who has decided to close his manga cafe, and has sent Zhang Yuan all the copies of Summer Records that he and He Luo exchanged messages in. Enclosed is also a letter that He Luo wrote back when she was searching for Zhang Yuan before she left for America. It’s full of memories of their friendship and relationship, starting from the day on the bus when he shielded her from the pickpocket.

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Tian Xin finally makes it to America and visits He Luo at her apartment. They drink wine together and Tian Xin asks when they’re going to get married and tells her to hurry up and get hitched soon.

But He Luo seems reluctant to get married, saying there’s nothing wrong with being single for a while. She’s afraid if she keeps doing what’s expected of her, her life will meaninglessly fly by.

Tian Xin says that when she was dating Zhang Yuan, she seemed to always be thinking of forever. He Luo laughs nervously and drains the rest of her wine, then says that she was too naive back then. Tian Xin asks how she felt after seeing Zhang Yuan again in China.

He Luo says that she’d be lying if she said she felt nothing at all. But more than anything, it reminded her of how hard and painful it was for her when she first came alone to America. She says she could tell that Zhang Yuan wanted to talk to her, but she thinks that’s natural. Everyone always feels some nostalgia and longing for the things they once had and lost in the past.

Tian Xin responds that He Luo’s really grown up since her college days, when she was ready to do whatever Zhang Yuan asked. He Luo says she’s realized she can’t live in the past anymore.

Tian Xin’s disappointed that Zhang Yuan didn’t take advantage of his time in Beijing with He Luo. In fact, she has a higher opinion of Feng Xiao, and is moved by how unwaveringly devoted he’s been to He Luo since they first met.

He Luo admits that the nicer Feng Xiao is to her, the worse she feels about herself. She wants to give him the love she once gave to Zhang Yuan, but she can’t. “How can I tell what feelings are real?” she asks Tian Xin.

Tian Xin says that love takes many forms, but nothing about it is fair. There’s no way to measure or compare amounts of love. Once you start thinking about fairness, then it’s not love anymore.

Tian Xin tells He Luo that she doesn’t care about Feng Xiao or Zhang Yuan. She cares about He Luo and will support her in whatever she chooses, as long as it makes her happy.

In what appears to be a dream, we return to He Luo and Zhang Yuan’s high school. But her desk partner isn’t Zhang Yuan. “Who’s Zhang Yuan?” he asks when she asks where Zhang Yuan is. It’s like he never existed.

Sometime later, He Luo walks back to her apartment building through the rain. She’s surprised, but also happy, to see Zhang Yuan walking toward her.

Thoughts

I’m confused by the passage of time yet again! I’m going to assume that many months have passed because Yun Wei suddenly got married and Zhang Yuan is living in an old house again. And then all of a sudden he’s in America? What?

What stood out to me this episode was the conversation between He Luo and Tian Xin toward the end. We’ve been seeing and hearing a lot about how selfish Tian Xin is, but she is also such a great friend and I loved seeing her support of He Luo. Also, I love talking about love, and I really liked that we finally got to hear He Luo verbalize her complicated feelings for both Zhang Yuan and Feng Xiao. She’s grown as a person and is able to approach her feelings with logic now, but at the same time the heart wants what it wants.

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