Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Perfect Match (Ep. 11)

So much escalation this episode. You thought this show was all about food and a mentor-mentee romance? Think again! We’re going to switch subgenres again…

As I expected, the Brazilian ambassador dinner goes swimmingly well for the night market crew and Ting En. He repeatedly states that the food is the best Taiwanese food he’s ever had and waves Xiao Bin over to emphasize how good it is and order more dishes for the people present. Xiao Bin scrambles to the kitchen to report it to the night market crew, who celebrate their success. Ting En praises Qing for her performance. She beams and Ah Wei watches them with concern.

Chairman Meng and Hai Wei also celebrate La Mure’s success and discuss the big announcement they plan on making that night. Ru Xi finds out that this announcement is about her and Ting En’s engagement. To her credit, she doesn’t look happy to hear that their parents have already decided that they are engaged despite the fact that she and Ting En have never discussed it. She asks if Ting En knows what’s coming. Hai Wei responds by convincing Ru Xi that Ting En must have already implicitly accepted that she is his match by letting her act as a host and media correspondent earlier that night.

Ah Wei and Ting En run into each other in the bathroom. Ah Wei tries to alpha Ting En repeatedly by body-checking him in the doorway and beating him to the sinks. Then he brags that he was the one who convinced Qing to help out at La Mure. Without him, Qing wouldn’t even be there. It turns out that Ah Wei has decided to take the high road when it comes to winning Qing’s heart. He recognizes that she has complicated feelings toward Ting En, and encouraged her to go help at La Mure because he hoped it would give her closure.

He and Ting En somehow end up sitting and chatting with each other on the bathroom floor. Ah Wei says that Ting En owes Qing for taking away her smile. Before La Mure she used to be happy and carefree, but since La Mure she has seemed tired and stressed all the time. He blames Ting En for her sudden personality change and asks him to stop doing whatever he’s doing that makes her worried and stressed. It’s hurting her. He tells Ting En about Qing’s accident earlier that day.

This conversation is so pure. What normal drama boy would have a civil conversation with his rival asking him to treat their shared loved interest better?

But Ting En isn’t receptive to the conversation, telling Ah Wei that he knows nothing. Ah Wei responds by telling him to keep his distance from Qing. He promises that he, not Ting En, will be the one by her side helping her realize her dream.

Qing’s mother shows up with a red bean cake machine to make dessert. Xiao Bin sends her out into the dining room with the rest of the kitchen crew, but blocks Ting En from joining them, a serious look on his face.

Ah Wei spots his father among the guests and ducks down to hide, then dons a face mask to hide his identity. Ru Xi finds this funny and they make eye contact and silently motion at each other. The red bean cakes are a hit with the guests, much to Mei Li’s displeasure.

At the end of the night, Ah Wei tries to get Qing to leave and go home, but Ting En convinces Qing to stay so they can chat. He asks her about her accident but she brushes it off as minor and reminds him that he was the one who told her to leave earlier that morning. He asks her to stay for dinner, but gets called out to socialize with the ambassador and other guests. Uh oh…

He leaves Qing with two plates of curry. She tastes both and identifies the spice combinations in them by number, then realizes he’s probably trying to send her some sort of message. But what?

Ru Xi, convinced by Hai Wei that perhaps Ting En really has chosen her, and convinced by Tian Zhi that perhaps an arranged marriage can be a good thing, convinces herself that Ting En has actually chosen her when he purposely steps away from the guests to check on her. He’s charming and friendly with her, as usual.

The ambassador calls everyone together to make a speech, bringing Ting En to the front so he can compliment him on the meal. While he talks, Ting En and Qing attempt to lip read and whisper to each other about the number codes in his curry. It’s a bit of a cringe-worthy series of miscommunications, because Qing’s not really great at understanding Ting En and he’s front and center with the ambassador, and clearly distracted while the ambassador is talking. But somehow no one notices. Hai Wei goes up to continue the speech and start to make an announcement, giving Ting En a chance to move next to Qing and ask her for her help. She agrees without knowing what it is. Hai Wei announces that Ting En is engaged to… Ting En grabs Qing’s hand and raises it just in time to declare that she is his fiancee.

Chairman Meng looks pissed. Ru Xi looks devastated and starts crying. (Oh no, is this the birth of the stereotypical, crazy rival? She was so refreshingly sane and normal before!) Hai Wei just looks confused.

Ting En and Qing get swarmed by journalists, but Xiao Bin helps hold them off and they make a run for it out of the restaurant.

Tian Zhi follows Ru Xi out of La Mure to check on her, having noticed that she’s not okay. There’s totally going to be something happening between them later… They chatted earlier in the night too when Ru Xi asked Tian Zhi about his relationship with Yu Qing and finds out that they were an arranged match.

Ru Xi calls Tian Zhi out on following her and leaving his fiancee alone inside. He says that Yu Qing wouldn’t mind, and refuses to go back inside unless she goes with him.

Qing and Ting En end up at the night market to find David. Ting En clearly blames David for Ting Li’s death, since she died from exhaustion. But they soon see that David has a bad leg and Qing reveals that he got injured trying to save his girlfriend from a car accident. It turns out that the girlfriend was Ting Li. She was saved, but he was stuck in the hospital for a while, leaving her alone to work at their night market stall. When she fell ill from exhaustion, he was still in the hospital and unable to visit her.

David recognizes Ting En, but Ting En doesn’t say much and instead orders two bowls of curry and eats silently while David watches. David acknowledges that his curry isn’t as good as Ting Li’s and apologizes for not paying his respects to him years ago after Ting Li passed away. But he stayed away because he wanted to make his curry stand more successful and prove to Ting En and his mother that he was capable of providing for Ting Li and helping her achieve her dream. Ting En finally responds, saying that his curry is pretty bad, but then he writes him a personal letter of recommendation to participate in a culinary program at Yanisi.

Aww look at Ting En being so mature and giving not one, but TWO night market cooks a chance!

Yu Qing is delighted at the dramatic turn of events at dinner. She tells Tian Zhi that this is the perfect opportunity for him to get promoted. By breaking the arranged marriage agreement, which was also a business agreement, Ting En most likely ruined corporate relations between Yanisi and Meng’s company. He will probably get demoted, which works out in Tian Zhi’s favor. We also learn that Yu Qing probably likes scheming for Tian Zhi so much because she’s been completely disregarded in her own family company, whose patriarchal ways mean that she will never have a chance at gaining any power. Tian Zhi is upset that Yu Qing would celebrate his brother’s misfortune. Yu Qing says that he and Ting En only have a good relationship right now because their grandmother is still alive, implying that Ting En is just putting on an act to gain her favor. But what will happen when she passes away?

Hai Wei stresses about the situation to Grandma Huo, who tries to look sympathetic while Mei Li makes snide comments about how “like attracts like” implying that a “low-born” person like Ting En was sure to attract someone equally as common as him. Grandma Huo winces and tuts at the drama and tries to comfort Tian Zhi who looks weary of the conflict, but it kind of looks like she secretly finds it all hilarious.

Ting En and Qing take a stroll along the river and he explains himself and his family dynamic a little more. Ting Li’s death made him really pay attention to his family dynamic, because it was really his stepmother’s abuse that drove her out onto the streets, eventually causing her death. Since then, he’s tried to play mediator in the family and keep the peace, but he doesn’t know how long he can keep it up. He actually thanks her because she made him start thinking about the possibility of a future instead of just trying to make it in the present. And maybe… he doesn’t finish that though. (Maybe that future involves her?)

Qing broaches the subject of their supposed engagement. Ting En acts awkward about it, and starts rambling how making her his girlfriend wouldn’t be impactful enough, and a fiancee would be harder for his mother to get rid of… then he says that they only need to keep up the pretense for a few days. After all, only his mom and a handful of other people know. (Uh, and what about all the journalists who were there?!) But while they’re pretending, he’ll probably need her to go home with him to meet his grandmother. And while they’re at it, they might as well work on their chemistry together to make their relationship more believable. Like… holding hands.

Come on, he’s totally just trying to make moves on her. And are they really going to act like they didn’t full on make out with each other just two nights ago? I don’t see Qing resisting either…

Rumors of Ting En and Qing being engaged have already flooded the interwebs. The night market fam try to hide it from Ah Wei, but it’s too late. He was just daydreaming about his future with a pregnant Qing (EW, CRINGE, PLEASE NO) but gets interrupted by this new development. Ah Wei once again parkours through a crowd and races to… Ting En’s grandmother’s apartment complex? How did he know they would be there? He gets stopped at the gates, too late to intercept Ting En and Qing, but close enough to watch them walk away from him, holding hands.

Grandma Huo seems delighted to meet Qing. (They make some puns out of her name, which sounds similar to wei hun qi, or fiancee.) She dotes on Qing for a little bit while Hai Wei pulls Ting En aside to express her displeasure at his antics, saying she will never accept Qing. Ting En suddenly gets a spasm of stomach pain and Qing rushes over to check on him. Hai Wei keeps lecturing him with Qing present, who takes offense at her disdain. But they’re all interrupted when Ting En suddenly faints.

At the hospital, Qing instinctively takes responsibility for filling out Ting En’s medical forms, writing down “fiancee” in the “relationship with patient” box. Now there’s paper evidence!

Ru Xi reflects on all her moments with Ting En and refuses to just fall to the wayside and give up. She texts Hai Wei, saying she’s ready to give it another go. (Oh no…)

Meanwhile, Ah Wei just sighs heavily, paces around, and generally looks stressed and upset waiting on the rooftop for Qing to come home. Which she might never do, because Grandma Huo suggests she stay the night and care for Ting En while the rest of them go home. Hai Wei tries to stay too, but Grandma Huo says that she’ll just be taking up space and acting useless. Outside of the hospital room, Grandma Huo calls Xiao Bin to assign him a task.

Qing gently touches the comatose (or perhaps just sleeping) Ting En’s face when everyone is gone and ends up falling asleep in a chair while holding his hand. He wakes up in the morning and gently messes with her. She wakes up and they’re sweet with each other, almost like they’re really a couple. Cuuuute. They start bickering a little because that’s unavoidable, but that’s also part of the charm, right?

Xiao Bin walks in on them and teases them, then shoves a bunch of documents at Ting En for him to stamp. The three of them are all chatting and messing around a little when Hai Wei, Grandma Huo, and Tian Zhi arrive. Everyone immediately snaps to attention and Xiao Bin excuses himself.

Grandma Huo checks on how Ting En is doing, pushing Qing to practically sit in his lap in the process. She then comes up with a great idea: Ting En should move back in with her while he recovers and Qing should move in as well so that she can take care of him! Everyone is stunned.

So… we’ve suddenly turned into a fake/contract relationship AND cohabitation plot? Wow! I did cringe a lot this episode — basically whenever Ah Wei was on screen — but I also thought it was cute. We got a lot of Ting En and Qing and a lot of progress in their relationship, and I like it! Unfortunately our second leads are also getting progressively more irritating…

But I think this will potentially be interesting because I’m not sure what Grandma Huo’s deal is yet. I think she’s hilarious and it seemed like she was concerned about Qing before Ting En announced her as his fiancee, but now that Qing is his fiancee, Grandma seems to like her and want to push them together. What’s up with that? Also, both Yu Qing and Mei Li seemed to be happy about Qing and Ting En dating, which means they will probably want to push the two of them together. Meanwhile, both Ru Xi and Hai Wei are obviously pro-Ru Xi as well. Tian Zhi seemed to be pro-Ru Xi before, but it seems like he just wants Ting En to be happy. What a sweetheart! There are a lot of different factions, politics, and priorities going on, so it’ll be interesting to see how these conflicting rivalries and agendas all play out…

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