Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Perfect Match (Ep. 18)

Tian Zhi and Ru Xi are hilarious. Both reflect on the previous night, which got quite steamy. Tian Zhi was going to be the gentleman and just drop Ru Xi off, but she asked him to stay. Now, in the morning, Tian Zhi insists on “taking responsibility” for her, while she insists that he doesn’t need to do anything. She decides to ask him out to breakfast.

The rest of the night market crew show up Qing’s apartment, where Ting En basically holds a cooking class for them as he explains and demonstrates how to make coronation chicken. It’s mostly a lot of Ting En and Qing acting cute with each other while Ah Wei sighs and watches them from behind.

Qing and Ah Wei come up with the idea of putting the chicken into a sandwich. Ting En and Qing start fake-fighting over royalties for the idea, since the chicken is his recipe. She finally shuts him up by putting some chicken in his mouth, and everyone else freaks out over how cute they’re being. In the process, Xiao Bin pushes Ah Wei out of the way in his excitement. Ah Wei watches them all with a wry smile then leaves.

Xiao Bin notices and follows him out. Ah Wei admits that he should probably let go of Qing now. He realizes that he had always been very one-sided in his feelings for Qing. She doesn’t even know who he really is, and he had always been thinking of what he could do for her. Somewhere along the way, he lost her because of that.

Ru Xi and Tian Zhi leave her bedroom to find her father waiting for her in her living room. Tian Zhi leaves to let them talk. When Chairman Meng hears that Tian Zhi’s engagement has ended, the wheels start turning in his head. A Ru Xi-Tian Zhi marriage would be excellent for his business prospects, especially because Yanisi stock prices are low right now. But Ru Xi doesn’t want to be her father’s pawn anymore and tells him as much. Can’t she have the freedom to choose her own future? Meng responds that she cannot. He’s decided, and his word is law. Ru Xi tells him he’s being unreasonable and leaves angrily.

Ah Wei finds his father waiting outside his apartment building for him. They go for a walk and his father says that it’s time for him to come home; it’s been two years already. Ah Wei says he’s not ready yet. Meng guesses that it’s because of Fen Qing, and tells him that the best way he can protect his woman is with his status. But Ah Wei says there are plenty of people who can’t rely on social status, yet they’re still able to lead good lives. That’s what he’s learned the past two years working at the night market, and is something he’d never have learned if he stayed at home with his family.

He heads back up to Qing’s place right before Uncle Rib comes up to report that Yu-jie is missing. Xiao Bin thinks that she’s probably run off with the money from the night market crew’s pooled funds, but the rest of the night market crew know she’s not that kind of person. Qing immediately takes charge and divides them into three groups to investigate her whereabouts.

She’s about to head out when Ting En stops her, saying that Xiao Bin might be right. Perhaps Yu-jie isn’t scamming them, but she hasn’t been fully honest. She’s just a coworker — why do they trust her so much? But both Uncle Rib and Qing are quick to respond that Ting En’s assessment of their relationship is wrong. Yu-jie is family.

Qing is just heading out when she gets a call. Ting En wants to help, but Qing says it’s somewhere he won’t want to go: the call is from her brother and he’s at Yanisi. But Ting En follows her anyway, Xiao Bin in tow.

Zhen Zhen, Ah Wei, and Ah Wang all wait outside the apartment, hoping Yu-jie will come back. Zhen Zhen uses this opportunity to confess to Ah Wei that she likes him. But Ah Wei responds saying she must know he already like someone else. A sad Zhen Zhen goes to sit by Ah Wang, who sneakily tries to put his arm around her, but they’re interrupted when Ah Wei spots Yu-jie.

Qing barges into Tian Zhi’s office, demanding he explain why her brother is not getting paid for his internship, nor is he getting college credit. Tian Zhi is surprised to see Ting En and even calls him “brother” before catching himself and putting on a stony face. They find out that Mei Li was the one who decided to cut intern salaries as a cost-cutting measure. Ting En starts warning Tian Zhi that this will affect the company’s reputation and asks if he’ll let his mother make a decision like this. Tian Zhi takes it for a moment, then angrily exclaims, “Enough!” He tells Ting En that he has no right to lecture him, then demands they all leave.

Ting En reminds Tian Zhi of his promise to him when they were younger: Ting En promised he would never take anything that belonged to Tian Zhi, while Tian Zhi had responded that everything that was his was also his brother’s.

Qing stares down Tian Zhi while telling her brother that he doesn’t need to work at a rotten company like Yanisi, then turns and leaves. Once they’re all gone, Tian Zhi lets out a heavy sigh and tells the intern manager to pay Wei Cheng Yang the salary he’s owed and give him the college credits. He tells himself that he’s capable of everything Ting En is capable of.

Outside the Yanisi office, Qing promises Cheng Yang that she’ll take care of his college credits so that he can graduate. But Cheng Yang says it doesn’t matter – he plans on dropping out anyway. They go back to the same old argument of Cheng Yang not wanting to be forced to do things because it’s what his mother and sister want. He stalks off. Qing tries to follow, but Ting En holds her back, reminding her about his own experience with Ting Li. But they’ll just have to continue the conversation later because they get a text that Yu-jie has been found.

Yu-jie explains that she wasn’t purposely hiding from her friends, but that her po-po (mother-in-law), who has dementia, had lost their money. For the past few days, she’s been hoping to recover the money and too ashamed to tell them she lost it. Ting En comes up with the idea of using food to jog po-po‘s muscle memory. Perhaps her hiding things after eating is a reflex or habit, and they can try to trigger it on purpose. He tells Qing that her arguments with her brother are similarly a habit; Cheng Yang’s defensiveness is most likely reflexive, based on years of similar past arguments.

Ting En rallies the night market crew and whips up some fried rice. The smell of the food triggers po-po into standing up from her wheelchair, grabbing a spoon, and running off. The night market crew end up following her to her old home, now abandoned, where she has stockpiled miscellaneous belongings in a chest in the fireplace. She mistakes Ting En for Yu-jie‘s late husband and hugs him, apologizing for not having given him a good life because of her impoverished history. Ting En plays along and calls her “mom,” but is reminded of growing up poor and soon gets lost in his own memories, speaking to her like she’s his own mother and apologizing for being immature when he was younger. He starts crying and there’s not a dry eye in the room. He thinks to himself that it’s possible to be family without being blood-related. Ah Wei watches and silently promises his father that he will return home one day.

Ru Xi gets a massage and smiles to herself as she remembers an interaction with Tian Zhi earlier that day. He realized that he hadn’t put on a condom during their one-night stand and is convinced she’s pregnant, while she knows that she can’t be. She finds it cute, if naive, but gets annoyed when he finds her at the spa and insists she has to take it easy because she’s pregnant.

Inspired by his interaction with Yu-jie‘s po-po, Ting En meets with his mother and thanks and apologizes to her for all her effort the past few decades. She asks him if he really plans on leaving the Huo family for good, then tells him the truth about why Tian Zhi kicked him out. Tian Zhi found out his mother was embezzling and wanted to protect Ting En. Ting En is stunned by this revelation.

Ah Wei goes to find his father, who hands him a check so that he can help his night market family and Qing open a restaurant. But Ah Wei rejects it, saying he doesn’t need money. He tells his father that he loves him and cares about him, and that he doesn’t care about his family’s status or financial ability. He says he’ll go home once his father understands how to love. Meng takes offense at that, saying that all the things he’s done for his kids, though heavy-handed, are his way of demonstrating his love. He feels that love is backed by financial stability, and that one day Ah Wei will realize this. He angrily goes back into his house.

Qing starts working on design plans for her new restaurant. When Ting En comes over, she tells him her plans to open a cozy curry diner, then switches gears and tells him she apologized to Cheng Yang. She admits that he was right. He says that he should get a little something in return, and pouts his lips for a kiss. She’s shy, but gives him a quick smooch. He says that he couldn’t feel it and asks for a bit more. On the third try, he pulls her in for a deeper kiss. Ah Wei walks up outside and sees them, but they don’t notice him.

Poor boy, he always has the worst luck when it comes to Qing!

Ting En pulls away and asks her a serious question: he’s penniless now; will she turn her back on him? “Of course not,” she responds, “How could I ever turn my back on you?” Then, he says, when are you going to marry me?

She pulls away, surprised, and says that he hasn’t given her flowers, chocolates, or any gifts. How can he expect her to marry him? He jokes that he always thought she wasn’t like other women and didn’t care about those things. But if tomorrow morning he brings her flowers, chocolates, and a gift, will she marry him them? She asks why he’s in such a hurry, and he says that of course he’s in a hurry because someone else might swoop in and steal her away. She smiles and says that they can talk about it tomorrow.

He adds that there’s one more thing: now that he’s no longer a chef, she can’t call him “Chef” anymore. He wants her to come up with a nickname for him. She suggests Little En En, but he doesn’t like it. (She had previously made fun of him when he admitted his mom used to call him that, because it sounds like the sound one would make when constipated.)

He tells her to think about it and starts to head toward the bathroom, but leans in close and asks if she wants to spend the night with him. Her mother and brother are fast asleep. Qing doesn’t want to do anything with her family in the house, but once he turns away she smiles and hides her face in her hands.

Ahhh I love watching Ting En and Qing interact. Their banter feels so natural and so cute!

Ah Wei chooses to make his entrance when Ting En is gone. Qing can tell something is off. His smile seems painful and his eyes are sad. “I like you,” he finally says, just as Ting En walks up behind Qing.

Eeee!

Okay, so I’m not as annoyed with Ah Wei anymore. I think he’s matured a lot over the course of the past few episodes. Before, he seemed almost self-centered or entitled in the way he would treat Qing. He had good intentions, but he always acted like she couldn’t handle herself and he needed to be there to help her make the right decisions or protect her. But she doesn’t need protection. Now that he’s realized that, I find him much more bearable. I think this last scene is his last-ditch attempt to get the girl. One of those moments where the guy realizes that if she goes off with this man they’ll live happily ever after, and he needs to say his true feelings or else he’ll regret it forever.

In the beginning of this show, I wasn’t quite sure if I saw the chemistry between Ting En and Qing. Perhaps it was because of the nature of their relationship: while I appreciated that she challenged him, there was still an imbalance of power where he was clearly in command and in a mentor position that sometimes felt weird, because he was so demanding. But I loved watching all their interactions this episode. They’re on more equal ground now, and they’re just so dang cute and natural together.

This episode of The Perfect Match is all about family. Family is complicated. Family is not how you’re related, but how you treat one another. There were a lot of nice messages about family and forgiveness, though I think this show shines more in its light moments than it does when it’s trying to be serious.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s