Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Perfect Match (Ep. 13)

Hai Wei tries to pit Ru Xi and Qing against each other, to Ru Xi’s advantage, but thanks to Mei Li’s meddling, both Ru Xi and Qing end up at a disadvantage. They both act like fish out of water. Ru Xi has no clue how to operate a vacuum (though it’s not that hard…) or be proficient in the kitchen. Qing is clueless when it comes to calligraphy or flower arrangement. Ting En tries to “help” her but he’s hardly any help, while Ru Xi asks Tian Zhi for assistance, but he reminds her that she once told him she could chase her own man. (There is totally going to be something going on between them.)

And though Hai Wei tried to make it a competition, Ru Xi and Qing actually cheer each other on when it’s time to switch and they are both allowed to do the things they’re actually good at. At the end of the day, they share a drink on the lawn and actually bond. Ru Xi admits that she really likes Ting En and she’s surprised that Qing isn’t more jealous or possessive. She doesn’t want to “steal” Ting En per se, but she does want to try her best to win his affection just to prove to herself that she tried. Qing actually encourages her. Ru Xi says some more about how marriages are rarely about love but how sometimes it’s also about timing. Qing seems to take this to heart and feels bad seeing how much Ru Xi genuinely likes Ting En. She almost spills the truth about her engagement to Ting En, but Ting En is nearby and overhears their conversation. He quickly dashes in to intervene and physically drags her off before she can say more.

Ting En warns Qing that they can’t let anyone know the truth and have to keep up the act for now. But they’re interrupted by Ru Xi, who says that she’s heading out for a business meeting. Qing, who has now apparently decided to play matchmaker, tells Ting En to drive Ru Xi there because he has a car. Once they’re gone, she tries to convince herself that she did a good thing, but her smile is too forced and it’s pretty clear she’s just lying to herself.

Hai Wei shows up and asks Qing where Ting En went. Qing says that he went… out. I’m sure she would be overjoyed if she knew that Ting En went off to drive Ru Xi somewhere, but instead she chides Qing for letting Ting En go out in the first place. He’s supposed to be resting at home on doctor’s orders. What kind of caretaker is Qing? Qing bristles at being expected to care for Ting En like he’s a helpless puppy. Hai Wei misinterprets her words to mean that she’s calling Ting En a dog. They go back and forth with Hai Wei willfully misunderstanding Qing, causing them both a headache. Hai Wei gets so frustrated by Qing that she tells her to go make and deliver a bento box to Ting En, just so she’ll get out of her hair. Ha, now she’s actually pushing them together!

And of course, the bento box only works to strengthen Ting En and Qing’s relationship. He’s super touched to receive it and they act like a couple of shy schoolkids as they say goodbye to each other.

On her way out, Qing runs into a guest who wants to cancel her reservation. Ting En and Qing ask her why she’s cancelling so suddenly when she made the reservation six months ago. It turns out that the woman is meeting up with her college ex-boyfriend and his wife, and the friend she’d asked to stand in as her own nonexistent boyfriend is out of town. She’d rather cancel than be an embarrassed third wheel. Qing must be in a matchmaking mood because she tries to convince Ting En to pretend to be the woman’s boyfriend. He doesn’t want to and pulls her aside to talk.

La Mure is a restaurant that serves good food — their services don’t extend to providing fake boyfriends. But Qing throws Ting En’s words back at him about putting the customer first. Besides, this was the woman’s first love. First love. She speaks passionately about how bittersweet a first love is, but when he asks her if she’s ever been in love, she says no. So it’s true then, that the kiss from before was her first kiss? She turns away and acts like it’s not a big deal but her smile says otherwise.

Qing convinces Ting En to help. He won’t be the woman’s fake boyfriend — they can let Xiao Bin do that — but says he can contribute something else. Near the woman’s university campus is a curry bread bakery that was especially popular with couples. The bakery no longer exists, but there’s another bakery in town that makes a similar curry bread. If they can give the woman and her ex a taste of that curry bread during the meal, then it might bring back fond memories of that first love.

He and Qing go off to find the curry bread. He takes her motorcycle, which is weird because he very clearly has a car…? Anyway, when they get to the bakery, the owner generously offers to share the curry bread recipe with them: he only has the curry bread recipe because it was shared with him by the grandma who owned the original curry bread bakery near the university campus.

Back at La Mure, Ting En explains to Qing that they’ll use last night’s curry to make the bread because some flavors take time to develop.

Meanwhile, Ru Xi debates delivering her own bento box to Ting En. She thinks it might be weird because Qing has already given him one bento. Tian Zhi finds her outside ruminating about this, and offers to eat the boxed lunch in Ting En’s place. Turns out it’s quite terrible, though he lies and says it’s the most delicious thing ever. He offers to take her out to lunch in exchange for her letting him eat the bento. They seem quite flirty. Tian Zhi’s nice, but he’s not so nice that he would lie about and finish eating terrible food for just anyone.

The curry bread and ex-lovers’ dinner goes well. Qing and Ting En watch the diners from afar. He puts his arm around her, and she’s surprised, but then smiles and settles into it.

His arm is still around her later in the night after the guests have gone and they’re sitting outside, watching the… stars? Unclear. She smiles his arm but then tells him that he doesn’t have to pretend anymore. There’s no one watching. She comments on how the woman they helped was really brave to face her past and then let go of it. Ting En agrees, then switches gear and asks her who he is to her.

She responds that he’s her chef, but also… her fiance. Fake fiance, he reminds her. He gets to the real heart of his question: every time he sees her with Ru Xi, she always looks guilty. But Ru Xi isn’t his girlfriend, so why does she act that way? It’s clear that Ru Xi’s words earlier had affected Qing. She talks about how green mangoes only exist because they’re picked early in the season to allow the other mangoes to develop into sweeter, ripe mangoes. In this scenario, she views herself as the green mango, who exists only so that the timing can be right for Ru Xi to be with Ting En.

She always feels guilty around Ru Xi and Ting En because she can see how much Ru Xi likes him. “But what about you?” Ting En asks. “Do you like me?” Asking the real questions!

She stares at him and doesn’t respond, which is better than a denial. He presses on, “What if I told you that I really like you? Would you date me?” They stare deeply into each other’s eyes. She wavers, and starts saying “I…” but then finishes it with, “I need to go back to my mom’s.” And quickly runs off.

He watches her go with a smile, thinking to himself, “Don’t worry. Take your time. I’ll wait for you.”

Qing’s head hurts from thinking about Ting En’s confession. Because that means that the kiss and his confession before were all real. But she finds it unfathomable that someone like Ting En could actually like someone like her when there are women like Ru Xi right there.

She gets a text from Ting En saying that he knows she ran away because she felt something for him too. She puts a hand to her heart. Maybe she does feel something for him. He follows up the text with another one, “Take your time. I’ll wait for you.” Look at that! For once, Ting En actually says what he means in a text! This is SO different from just a week ago in their relationship when they were unable to communicate with each other.

Qing starts drafting a text admitting that maybe she does feeling something… but then deletes it all and hurries home.

While Ting En and Qing kind of make some relationship progress, there’s also another relationship brewing… between Ru Xi and Tian Zhi. He has a plate of his favorite strawberries and she has her flirt on and dialed up past a hundred. She eats a strawberry straight from his hand — and not because he wanted to feed it to her! He wanted to just eat it himself. Then she steals the whole plate and plays keep away, jumping into the pool fully clothed and tries to get him to join her. He finally does after she feigns a cramp, but she spins away. Inside the condo, they continue to chase each other around, only to be spotted by Grandma Huo, who probably also senses something going on… but she just tells them to dry the floor. They continue to bicker and banter while drying the floor. Hmmmm… their friendly, bantering vibe is classic relationship material. Far better than that fake, coy charm that Ting En and Ru Xi always have with each other.

Qing returns home to find Ah Wei drinking by himself on the roof. She admits to him that the engagement is fake, which surprises and delights him, but then his face falls when she says that Ting En just confessed to her for real. And… she might feel something too? She starts drinking with him, and poor Ah Wei is friendzoned so hard that he’s doomed to forever have to listen to Qing vent about Ting En.

Eventually, Qing gets so drunk that she agrees to Ah Wei’s terrible idea for how to figure out if Ting En really likes her. Clearly, the best way to find out if a guy likes you is to try to make you jealous. He says that he can help her by pretending that they’re dating. This seems like a bad idea. For many reasons. Mostly because it seems like Ah Wei is trying to be the bigger person and help Qing be happy by generously helping her test the depth of Ting En’s feelings for her and possibly get the guy… but it also feels like Ah Wei is just lying to himself, which seems… bad.

Qing falls asleep and Ah Wei puts his plan into action. He leans in close for a kiss and takes a picture using Qing’s phone, then texts it to Ting En. As he draws away, we actually see that he is quite the gentleman — he had his finger between his and Qing’s lips the whole time so they didn’t actually kiss. Uhh great?

Ting En is busy admiring a new night light he got for Qing so they could both sleep better at night when he gets the text from Qing’s phone. He immediately calls Qing, only to have Ah Wei pick up on the other end. Ah Wei tries to provoke Ting En, but Ting En remains calm, saying “I trust her.”

He drives over to Qing’s apartment to see Ah Wei waiting for him with Qing’s head in his lap. (Insert eye roll here.) Ah Wei stands up to confront Ting En, but Ting En just ignores him and instead goes to carry Qing back to the car so they can go home. Ah Wei asks him why he’s in a fake engagement with Qing and for how long, then threatens Ting En saying that if he hears a word about Qing being mistreated at the Huo household, he’ll go save her in a heartbeat. Ting En admits that the fake engagement is entirely his fault and he doesn’t know how long it’ll have to last, but also says that he can protect Qing. In her sleep, Qing mutters, “Protect who? Who will protect you?” and snuggles closer to Ting En. Cuuuute. Ah Wei lets them go. (I mean, what else is he going to do? Fight Ting En while he has Qing in his arms?)

Ting En buckles the sleeping Qing into her seat and tells her that she’s not allowed to drink by herself anymore. She always blacks out and forgets where she is. In the future, he will always drink with her.

Qing dreams that she’s cooking curry rice for her father. He tells her that he’s proud of her, not because she understands curry or has opened her own shop, but because she dared to push herself and put herself out there and try. She promises him that she will open a big restaurant one day and earn back his King of Curry title. She’ll take care of her mom and her brother and realize their dream together.

The next morning, Qing wakes up, still in the car, to find Ting En watching her. He spent the night in the car with her because it was late and he didn’t want to wake up his family or have them see her in her wasted state. She comments that he was protecting her. He says that it’s pretty normal for a man to protect a woman he likes. She just stares at him and nods awkwardly. He asks if she has an answer for him yet. She asks for more time and starts to say, “I need to confirm that you…” but trails off and suggests they head upstairs.

He pulls her closer and admits to her that his heart always feels a little weird whenever he sees her with Ah Wei, but he also understands that Ah Wei is her best friend, so it’s okay. He doesn’t want to pressure her, but he also is still waiting for an answer. She just nods in response.

In the condo, Tian Zhi is strolling around shirtless and… shiny (from sweat? a swim in the pool?) Ru Xi spots him and checks him out. When he notices her, he tries to turn away and hide. She flirtatiously says that she doesn’t like it when men are too muscular, but he’s just the right amount of fit. He tries to scurry away, and she follows. They awkwardly walk by the Huo family women and run into Ting En and Qing coming back. Qing tries to shield her eyes. Tian Zhi runs away.

Ru Xi has made breakfast for everyone but especially for Ting En. She kept his tastes in mind, such as substituting bayonne ham for bacon and scrambling his eggs. He seems apprehensive, having experienced her cooking before, and gives Qing a nervous look.

I must admit I enjoyed this episode way more than I thought I would! I thought this episode would be a bad dating competition reality show mixed with Ah Wei acting like a jealous saboteur, but this episode turned out to be surprisingly wholesome. A lot went into relationship development that I didn’t expect, such as the open honesty between Qing and Ting En, the friendliness between Ru Xi and Qing, and the blatant flirting between Tian Zhi and Ru Xi.

I will always wonder why people in drama-land have never heard of locking their phones, but I like that our characters have only seemed to mature more as the show goes on, rather than start to deteriorate into childish antics.

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