Ahhh!! Stand By Me is BACK! I really loved the zaniness of the first season and can’t wait to see more of the characters’ lives in season two. This first episode is mostly just a lot of set-up, reintroducing us to some of our favorite old characters and also introducing a new one, but really just captures everything that was great about the first season.
Lu Qiao Chuan (Wu Yu Ze) takes a taxi back to campus. To his dismay, his driver insists on stopping for another rider also going in the same direction: the other rider just happens to be Ye Ji Ping (Liu Xuan), his class adviser, whom he also ended up sharing a taxi with last year. Last year, Qiao Chuan fell for a false rumor that Ye Ji Ping spread about one of his classmates having three ears. This year, he’s not falling for any of it. Ye Ji Ping tries to tell him a true rumor this year, to make up for last year, and says that he’ll be going abroad after this school year. He also has some more news: one of their classmates, Gu Yi Xin, has abruptly decided to study abroad and is gone.
Meanwhile, Zhong Bai (Xu Xiao Tong) and Ren Yi Fan (Yu Xiang) are already back on campus. Ren Yi Fan sings in public on campus while playing an electric piano in an attempt to get one of his ex-girlfriends to take him back. Zhong Bai humors him and keeps him company.
At his dorm, Qiao Chuan runs into a drunk Pan Zhen (portrayed by a new actor this time around, Han Xu), who is depressed by Yi Xin’s sudden departure. Then he gets a call from Ye Ji Ping, who tells him he slipped into his butt pocket a letter from Yi Xin to Thirteen (Bi Shi San). Ye Ji Ping didn’t want to be on the one to give Thirteen the letter, so he passed on the duty to Qiao Chuan. Sure enough, Qiao Chuan finds a letter in his pocket.
Yu Hao (Li Chuan), Qiao Chuan’s flamboyant roommate, greets him zealously when gets to their room. He’s been alone with no one to talk to for the past few days and now has a never-ending flood of words to say.
Yu Hao slips out for a second and an unfamiliar woman (Ci Wan Tong) walks into the room, asking if this is where Xiao Hai Yang lives. She walks over to Hai Yang’s bed, takes a big sniff, drops off his bag, and then leaves without explanation.
Yu Hao comes back from a gossip-mongering expedition. Qiao Chuan ignores him and starts to write a letter to Yi Xin that sounds strangely morose, like she’s dead rather than just gone.
Ren Yi Fan and Zhong Bai stop singing for a bit and she makes heart-eyes at her phone after Qiao Chuan texts that he’s back on campus. Ren Yi Fan is disgusted by her cheerful state, given his own depression over his heartbreak. She says she has nothing to feel depressed about, and he asks what she would do if Xiao Hai Yang suddenly showed up. Would she feel depressed then?
Right at that moment, Hai Yang (Pang Han Chen) appears. He’s trying to locate his bag, which they haven’t seen, so he promptly runs off, leaving them stunned.
He runs into Li Shu Ci (Ding Xiang Nan), who has a crush on him. He asks her if she’s seen his bag along with a woman. The unfamiliar woman from before approaches them. At first they ignore her, but then Hai Yang realizes that she looks a lot like the woman he’s trying to describe. She tells him that her bag in his in his dorm room, then leaves.
Hai Yang dashes back to his dorm to verify that all his pairs of boxers are still in his bag. His roommates ask him about the woman who entered their room earlier. Hai Yang explains how he was minding his own business eating at a restaurant near campus when she appeared and sat down across from him, uninvited. She acted very strange, at one point leaning over and taking a big sniff, then asking him to guess what blood type she was. Freaked out, he ran out of the restaurant with his bag and without finishing his food. When he went back later, the owner told him that the woman had paid his bill and took her bag with him.
Qiao Chuan gets Hai Yang to write a note for Yi Xin in his letter. Hai Yang makes sure to note that he’s a second year student, which he finds necessary in order to assure her (and everyone else) that he did indeed pass his first year of college — finally. (The joke being that he had failed and had to repeat the two years before.)
He declares that now that he’s officially a second year student, he can officially and openly pursue Zhong Bai. He gives Qiao Chuan some warning, saying that they’ll now be rivals, but Qiao Chuan isn’t really listening, and is instead fixated on how the woman had sniffed Hai Yang’s bed.
Zhong Bai tries to get Ren Yi Fan to stop singing and leave. He’s reluctant because his ex hasn’t come to talk to him yet, but she points out that several of his other exes have all dropped by. They’re cleaning up when a new girl drops by, saying she felt pretty moved by him. Ren Yi Fan is elated to meet a new student who hasn’t yet heard his reputation on campus, and immediately tells Zhong Bai to leave. She does, but makes sure to warn the girl away from him.
Ren Yi Fan escorts the new girl to her dorm, dragging her luggage for her. They walk by Lin Luo Xue (Li Ruo Jia), and he tries to show off, saying that normally he’d help her but now there’s someone new. She messes with him by pretending to be his ex-girlfriend and says that she’ll take him back now. The new girl gives them some side-eye before grabbing her own suitcase and leaving.
Luo Xue gets a call from Lu Qiao Chuan, the ringtone set to some English lyrics saying, “I will give you all my love, we will never be apart”. They arrange to meet later. Ren Yi Fan notices this, and comments on how she’s pretty quick to move on after breaking up with her boyfriend. She responds with a “thanks but it’s none of your business.”
This was a great first episode for the second season! It was mostly a lot of set-up: letting us know that Yi Xin is gone and that this new, unidentified woman, has shown up (and will probably take her place among the friend group). But it gave me a lot of renewed respect for how well the show balances an ensemble cast of characters, especially compared to Suddenly This Summer, which I just watched and had neglected a lot of side character development in favor of focusing on its main couple. This episode was only 30 minutes long, yet I felt like I got a good reminder and good sense of each character’s personality.
My Chinese isn’t the strongest, but even I can appreciate how great the dialogue in this show! What I really liked about the first season of this show was how comedic and zany it was with the dialogue while also feeling down-to-earth and real with the characters and situations, and we get more of that here. I’m glad the show gave us little captions reminding us of each character’s name, because I definitely didn’t remember some of the side characters’ names.
3 thoughts on “Recap: Stand By Me 2 (Ep. 1)”
From the 1st ep, I thought Ren Yifan and Lin Luoxue would hook up. But they did one better, they became the bestest of all Chinese frenemy there ever were. LOL!
Arghh.. Do you know where can I watch this drama with English subtitle?
I haven’t found it anywhere yet. 😦 But I’ll keep an eye out!