What happened this episode? Most of my goodwill and good impressions from last episode have evaporated. This episode, The Perfect Match really leans into the comedy side of things, but not in a good way. I spent most of the episode feeling like that grimacing face emoji, or just wondering WTF IS GOING ON?! We’re also back to our regularly scheduled programming of SO MUCH HAPPENING.
Ah Wei and Qing are back on good terms, working together at the night market and joking around. They’re interrupted when some sleazy men try to put their hands on Zhen Zhen and Nai Nai. Qing throws herself into the fray and physically starts fighting off the men. Ah Wei jumps in to back her up, and they manage to scare them off. One of the men can’t help but angrily yell, “A woman like you will never find someone!” to which Ah Wei retorts, “I want her.” (Lol.)
But that fight scene and the cheesy aftermath aren’t even close to being the most cringe-worthy things to come on-screen this episode.
While Ah Wei and Qing are roughing it, Ting En attends a fancy restaurant opening that Tian Zhi put him up to. Ru Xi is also there, looking stunning in a floral dress. They hang out the whole night, Ru Xi’s arm looped through Ting En’s, making for an attractive couple that draws quite a few admiring whispers. But as we know, Ting En doesn’t really care about what other people think.
At the end of the night, Ru Xi kisses Ting En on the cheek, then asks for one back, in the way of the French. Ting En simply says good night instead. Once she heads inside, he wipes his cheek. Then we get a much too long sequence of Ru Xi removing her lipstick, then thinking longingly of the kiss with a smile. I completely zoned out after a second. Maybe that scene was just there for the product placement…
Ah Wei remembers how adamant Qing was about making sure he didn’t go back to his ex-girlfriend and smiles happily. He texts her goodnight, which we saw at the end of last episode. She responds with a video, then sees the video of Ting En she recorded while they were drunk. Ting En clearly says, “Wei Fen Qing, I love you.”
Qing freaks out and revisits that night in her memory. Is it possible that they…?
She can’t get Ting En’s words out of her mind, to the point where she starts hallucinating that Ting En is just going around saying “I love you.” Including a really cringey/bizarre sequence where Ting En and Xiao Bin act like a pair of preening male birds that is probably a reference to something that I don’t get?
But, pause on that drama for a bit because a new source of drama appears. There’s a reservation at La Mure for that night specifically requesting white curry. Ting En demands to know who accepted the reservation. Just in time, Tian Zhi shows up to report that his mother was the one who made the reservation, but he can try to convince her to cancel it. Upon hearing this new information, Ting En immediately switches gears and says that it’s fine: he knows how to make white curry; he can do it. Xiao Bin looks concerned.
And soon, we learn why: Xiao Bin confided in Qing that Ting En refuses to make white curry because that was his deceased sister’s favorite dish, and the memory is still too painful. Qing watches Ting En with concern. He’s clearly unfocused and not his usual self in the kitchen.
He goes outside to take a break. Qing follows and tries to spark some life back into him, finally opting for trying to make him angry. He can tell what she’s trying to do, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate it, and it kind of works.
They return to the kitchen and work together to successfully make a tasty white curry dish.
Afterward, we return to Qing over-reading every little thing that Ting En says, while it’s clear that he has no memory of his drunken late night confession. Ting En gives Qing the final taste test: she has to taste different mixes of spices and identify which spices are part of the mixture. The powders are numbered, and the number combinations just happen to be acronyms for romantic proclamations like “I love you” or “Kiss me”. Everything Ting En says could also easily be misconstrued, if taken in conjunction with the acronyms, but Ting En is clearly oblivious while Qing goes mad.
At night, Qing continues to steam about how Ting En could continue acting like he doesn’t remember a thing about that night. She thinks about deleting the video, but then decides to keep it.
Ting En calls Xiao Bin, who has tracked down Qing’s brother, and tells him to offer him an internship at his company. Xiao Bin finds it weird that Ting En is doing so much for Qing’s brother.
There’s a very random scene that seems important, but it turns out it’s just a bonus/cameo/crossover with The Masked Lover, which was airing at the same time as this show, so I’m just going to ignore it.
Qing goes shopping with Ah Wei for ingredients for her final dish that she’s supposed to make at the culmination of her time at La Mure. They stop at a seafood stand and look at lobsters. Ah Wei proves himself particularly astute when it comes to quality, and points out that the lobsters aren’t very fresh, despite being alive. Qing remembers what Ting En said about ingredient quality being very important to the quality of a dish, and decides to pass on the lobsters. Ah Wei says that he can help her in the future with finding quality ingredients, which is no surprise, considering he’s a son of the Meng family, whose company is focused on sourcing ingredients. He tells her that he was by her side before La Mure, and he will be after La Mure as well. It’s basically a confession. She smiles wanly. A motorcyclist speeds by, a bit too quickly, and Ah Wei whisks her out of the way before gently brushing a stray lock of hair out of her face. She thinks the Ting En confession video is starting to get to her head, because she’s getting major romance vibes from Ah Wei, but that’s impossible because he’s like her brother, right?
Qing’s brother calls her from the Yanisi corporate office, reporting that he’s found an internship, but it has nothing to do with cooking. (She doesn’t know where he is.) She’s a little disappointed that he’s not pursuing a culinary path, but says that she’ll support him. She’s just glad that he’s found something.
Qing goes to visit her father’s grave and report that Cheng Yang isn’t following in his footsteps, but that she’s decided to support him anyway because that’s what her father would have wanted. Afterward, she wanders the grounds cheerfully, then gets a call from Xiao Bin. He can’t find Ting En and is worried because Yanisi has a shareholder meeting tomorrow and as the CEO, Ting En has to be prepared. Xiao Bin is worried that Ting En’s stepmother is going to stage a coup of some sort. She already made the first move, sending in the guests who ordered the white curry as an attempt to throw Ting En off his game.
Qing is on her way out of the grounds when she sees a familiar sight: her father’s burial site is the same location that was in Ting En’s glove box photos. Sure enough, she spots Ting En’s car parked nearby and finds him fishing by the river.
She can tell he’s not in a talkative mood, so she decides to tell him about her childhood. Her father passed away when she was young, but her family was fortunate to have been taken in by “Uncle Ribs,” one of her night market coworkers. He was the one who got her into the night market, and since then the night market has been like family to her.
She asks him about his childhood. He doesn’t want to, but she convinces him. He admits that his childhood wasn’t that different from hers: his father also passed away when he was young. His mother went to work at a large restaurant owned by the Huo family. That’s how they met Mr. Huo. Later, his mother married Huo.
Qing asks if Ting En has a stepmother. He does, but he doesn’t elaborate. She quickly switches the subject to talk about happy memories. He clearly doesn’t want to talk, or listen, but she chatters on and follows him as he tries to walk away from her. Her persistence finally works, because he finally stops and listens when she says that she’s decided not to force her brother into culinary school. As long as he’s happy, she’ll support him. Ting En tells her she’s lucky she has the chance to tell her brother; he never had a chance to tell his sister. He starts to open up, admitting that there’s a lot he wishes he were able to say to his sister.
Ting En tells Qing that he initially agreed to teach her how to make curry because she reminded him of his sister: only in attitude, not looks (his sister was much prettier.)
They end up hanging out around his campsite for the rest of the day. Qing is finally able to put a smile on Ting En’s face. And she almost forgets about the video, until he looks at her intently with an expression that mirrors the video, and suddenly she turns awkward again. She edges away as he leans in close, but it turns out he’s just trying to point out the stars and not make any real moves.
Qing decides that it’s time to come clean with Ting En about his confession. She gives a long-winded speech that ends with “Sorry, I can’t accept your love” which completely shocks and confuses him. Usually, he says, you wait for someone to confess before you reject them, but he hasn’t even confessed yet. Qing quickly pulls out the video to show him as proof. He can’t believe his eyes, calling it an impossibility. Then he tries to excuse the words as drunken words that can’t be believed. (Ha, aren’t drunk words usually the most true?)
Qing wants Ting En to take responsibility for his words. But what does that mean? “Do you want me to date you?” he asks. She quickly says no. Then he turns the situation on her, asking why she was filming him that night. She doesn’t have an answer either, then tries to say she was drunk. It only escalates from there, with Ting En suggesting that maybe she likes him. She protests.
They decide to settle the matter with the understanding that neither of them likes the other.
Ting En gets a text from Ru Xi, saying that she’s free tomorrow and he can ask her out on a date if he wants. He puts his phone down and Qing calls out, reminding him that tomorrow is her last day at La Mure. She heads to bed. Ting En looks a bit sad about it.
The two of them somehow end up sleeping in Ting En’s tent together, where Qing keeps him up all night with her snoring. He tries to reflect on why he would have said “I love you” on the video, but Qing proceeds to wrap herself around him in her sleeping state. Then she starts dreaming that she’s drowning (or something) and proceeds to swim around in circles in the tent, smacking Ting En repeatedly and kicking him in the balls.
It pretty much continues like that for the rest of the night. In the early AM, Ting En has finally had enough and gets on top of Qing to complain to her (sleeping) face. He’s in the middle of ranting when he suddenly has a flashback to that drunken night…
In his memory, there’s a lot of cheesy winking, clothes flying, lip licking, and…?
Who knows because the episode’s over! What did I just watch? I’m not quite sure… I’ll admit the sleeping Qing swimming around the tent actually got a good laugh out loud from me, and not in an ironic way. But everything else?