Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Perfect Match (Ep. 12)

In today’s episode of The Perfect Match, we learn a lot more about how Grandma Huo is connected to Qing’s family. This episode is also full of antics from both Huo moms. And how could it not be after the dramatic revelations at the end of last episode?

We ended last episode with Grandma Huo deciding that Qing and Ting En should both move in with her. What Grandma says is what is done. No one dares say no to her. Qing hopes that her mother, at least, will save her by forbidding her from moving in with Ting En, but unfortunately Grandma Huo has beat her to it. She returns home to find her bags already packed and her mother happily sends her off, pushing her out the door and not even letting her get a word in. Ah Wei doesn’t even have a chance to ask Qing about anything. Qing feels like she’s being sold into (a fake) marriage.

It turns out that Grandma Huo had immediately visited Qing’s mother after coming up with her brilliant plan, and brought gifts as a way of proposing marriage between the two families. The two were already familiar with each other, with Qing’s mother greeting Grandma Huo as “boss”, and there seemed to be warm feelings between them, though they had not seen each other for years. Grandma Huo is more than happy to have Qing join her family.

Qing arrives at the Huo condo, where she gets a chilly reception from Hai Wei. Qing is forced to maintain a civil demeanor while Hai Wei continually insults her, saying that she and Ting En are sure to break up soon, and that being a daughter-in-law of the Huo family isn’t easy. Hai Wei proposes that Ru Xi also be allowed to move in with the Huos, because Hai Wei had accepted a marriage proposal between her and Ting En on his behalf. Is this turning into some sort of bad reality show?

Grandma Huo is surprised by this unexpected proposal, but agrees in order to keep the peace. She’s clearly Team Qing though, because when they realize that there aren’t enough guest rooms in the condo to accommodate them all, she proposes that Qing share a room with Ting En. They’re engaged, after all.

Mei Li decides that she too will be Team Qing and tells Tian Zhi that they have to help Fen Qing get rid of Ru Xi. Her reasons are far from pure — she’s afraid of the power that a business alliance between Hai Wei and Meng would bring — but hey, at least she’s on the right side!

Qing and Ting En try to adjust to being so fully enveloped in each other’s lives. They have an early awkward run-in where Qing walks in on Ting En changing out of his pants. But it’s not like she hasn’t seen him half-naked before, and it’s only a precursor to what comes next…

Hai Wei and Mei Li both try to scheme ways to push Ting En closer to their respective choices for his fiancee. Their location of choice for a steamy encounter? The bathroom. Qing wants to go take a bath, but Hai Wei intercepts her and sends her on a meaningless errand, then urges Ru Xi to go take a bath. She smirks to herself that Ting En is sure to be attracted to Ru Xi after seeing her nice figure. Once Ru Xi is fully in the bath and oblivious, she steals Ru Xi’s clothes, then calls Ting En to go fix a leak in the bathroom.

Mei Li sees all this happen and decides to sabotage Hai Wei by sneaking Ru Xi’s clothes back into the bathroom, then chasing Ru Xi out by asking loudly why she’s been in there for so long. She finds Qing and urges her to go take a bath, then enlists Tian Zhi in distracting Ting En while she steals Qing’s clothes.

The timing is perfect, because by the time Ting En makes it into the bathroom to check on the “leak,” Qing has gotten out of the bath and is trying to look for her clothes. He walks in and sees everything. Have they not heard of towels?

Qing screams and immediately scrambles to cover his eyes. She tries to get him to back out with his eyes still covered, but all the commotion brings Hai Wei, Mei Li, and Tian Zhi running in. Hai Wei is scandalized. Mei Li is delighted. Ting En quickly improvises and says that they were… taking a bath. Together. As fiances. Mei Li loves it and starts chanting “take a bath!” She quickly lets them be, but Tian Zhi has to drag the still-scandalized Hai Wei out of the bathroom.

Qing puts away her clothes in Ting En’s very large walk-in closet while wondering just how much he saw in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Ting En takes a phone call from Xiao Bin while watching Qing, and is clearly distracted by her. They each separately think to themselves very similar things about their relationship progression so far: how they haven’t known each other very long, but have already kissed and are suddenly “engaged,” and how she had never really given him an answer when he confessed his feelings for her.

Meanwhile, Ah Wei is being a sadboi. He acts like he’s in a haze at the night market and keeps giving away free food to customers. The night market family tries to stage an intervention, but he just pastes on a smile and heads out. He drops by Qing’s mother’s apartment to return a pot, then spots some beans that Qing had spilled the other day when she was still in shock after her accident. This somehow sets him over the edge. He starts sobbing and thinks about all the little moments when she expressed strong feelings for him, then takes off running, running, running to…?

Ah Wei ends up at Ting En’s condo complex, where he starts yelling Qing’s name into the sky like a lunatic. He must have texted Qing at some point too, because she tells Ting En that Ah Wei is somehow downstairs and seems confused. Ting En looks a bit jealous. Heh.

She goes downstairs to find Ah Wei. Ah Wei doesn’t really let her say anything and instead immediately demands to know why she’s there and thinks that Ting En must be blackmailing her or otherwise coercing her into this marriage. He tells her to come back with him. At this point, Ting En shows up. Ah Wei has some harsh words for him, saying that he must be forcing Qing to stay by his side. Thus begins another delightful tug-of-Qing. This time, Ting En lets go first, saying he’ll never force Qing to do anything and that she can make her own choice. Ah Wei reluctantly lets go as well. Qing chooses to go with Ting En, telling Ah Wei that she’ll explain everything later.

Back in the bedroom, Qing and Ting En each try to volunteer to sleep on the floor. Qing wins that one, because Ting En is still recovering from being in the hospital. But she’s afraid of the dark when Ting En turns the light off, and he’s unable to sleep with the light on, so they end up chatting with the lights on. Ting En shares bits of his childhood with Qing, and she’s surprised by how much he’s opening up, but he says that he just wants her to understand him a little more. Wow! Good job Ting En, volunteering to have some open communication! He’s finally acting like he’s actually seven years older than her instead of acting like a dumb college boy who refuses to communicate.

And right when they’re in the middle of their nice, pleasant chat, Ting En smoothly sneaks in a “Do you want to sleep on the bed (with me) tonight?” Ha, that just makes me think of “Lady Marmalade” — voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? Though his intentions are more pure. He just wants to be able to sleep with the lights off, and says that he’ll hold her hand to help her sleep, and they can stay far apart because his bed is big. He won’t make any unwanted advances on her. She agrees.

Of course, surprise surprise, she’s actually the one who makes unwanted moves on him! Turns out that in addition to being a swimmer in her sleep, she’s also a full on sleepwalker. At one point in the night, Ting En wakes up to find Qing’s foot dangerously close to his head — and she proceeds to kick him completely off the bed.

Meanwhile, Grandma Huo looks at photos of the men in her family — her son, Ting En, and Tian Zhi — and talks out loud to her deceased son. She says that she finally got to see Shu Feng (Qing’s mother) but didn’t know what to say to her… She thinks that Ting En and Qing being engaged is fate, even though she knows that it’s all an act, but wouldn’t it be great if it were real? If they really became a couple, then maybe it would repay the debt that her family owes the Wei family. Grandma Huo would even be willing to give up all of Yanisi for that. Hmmmm… definitely some secret, unspoken history between the two families. Could the Huos have been involved in the accident that killed Qing’s father? Or some other scandalous cover-up involving family fortune?

When Hai Wei goes in to wake Qing up the next morning, she is once again scandalized. Each of Qing’s limbs has been tied to a corner of the bed and Ting En is nowhere to be found. Hai Wei calls out his name a couple of times, and he finally emerges blearily from beneath the covers near Qing’s legs, two cotton plugs in his nose. Lol. He tries to explain himself but Hai Wei just hears excuses and clearly believes that they’re just being kinky. She ignores it and tells Qing to hurry up and meet her out in the living room.

Hai Wei and Mei Li have prepared for a showdown and Ru Xi and Qing stand in front of them, not sure what to expect. What they should be expecting is a game show-like competition to prove who is more fit to be a daughter-in-law of the Huo family. That’s basically what Hai Wei is going for. And the tasks she has in mind are all skewed to be bougie and to Ru Xi’s advantage, such as flower arranging. But Mei Li wouldn’t be doing her duty if she didn’t try to tip the scales in Qing’s favor, so she suggests that Ru Xi should try her hand at cleaning (something Qing professed she was capable of, and something usually expected of a wife — unless you’re rich). Ru Xi and Qing share an apprehensive look.

I have to admit, I enjoyed this episode despite myself. I spent the whole time either rolling my eyes or finding it delightfully hilarious, and I didn’t even roll my eyes that much! It was mainly whenever Ru Xi or Ah Wei were on screen that I did…

What I like about this show so far is that it’s really hard to fully dislike any of these characters, because they all act so silly sometimes. Even the more antagonistic ones, like Hai Wei and Mei Li, just act so ridiculous sometimes with their sneaking around and scheming that it’s hard to be like “oh, you’re just pure evil and I will hate you as a character.”

I don’t even actively dislike Ru Xi or Ah Wei that much. Unlike other dramas, they’re not artificially evil.

To Ru Xi’s credit, even though she’s competing for Ting En’s affection, she isn’t actively doing anything to sabotage Ting En and Qing. In fact, their eye contact at the end of this episode when they’re standing in front of the Huo moms is suggestive of a sort of camaraderie, or at least a shared WTF is going on?

Ah Wei, on the other hand, is so pure in his feelings for Qing, but he’s also a bit much. He barely lets her talk or asks her what she wants and instead just assumes he knows what’s best for her. But to be fair, if I put myself in his shoes and had a friend who met a guy one day and was suddenly engaged and living with him a week later, I too would be concerned and would probably try to convince her to return to sane life, even if I weren’t in love with her.

Neither Ru Xi nor Ah Wei are that actively frustrating or annoying, but they’re like black holes of interest for me. Whenever they come on screen, I either cringe or am immediately bored. Give me more juicy Huo family drama any time! The Mengs are boring. I’m not liking this preview that I see of the next episode that implies that Ah Wei purposely takes a photo of himself kissing a sleeping Qing in order to sabotage! Hao wu liao!

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