Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Perfect Match (Ep. 21)

Ting En hands Qing his resignation letter. He’s leaving La Mure, Yanisi, and her and their fake engagement. He tells Qing that they’re not right for each other. He’s asked her to trust him, yet she keeps turning to Ah Wei, even when he asked her not to. He’s more than jealous; he’s also angry. He thought he was okay with Ah Wei being by her side, but now he’s not. And he knows that it’s not something she can change, so he’s leaving. He doesn’t even know for sure whether she loves him or not. He feels like he loves much more than she loves him and he wishes she would love him more, but also he knows he can’t make her do that. He has plenty of other excuses, like their age difference and how she’ll now be his boss, which makes him uncomfortable. He claims he’s too proud for that.

All his reasons sound plausible, I suppose, but his motive is so opaque. And Qing feels that, too. At first, she thinks he’s joking, but he says he’s not. She apologizes and says she can change, but he says that she did nothing wrong. The classic, “It’s not you, it’s me.” He’s just not right for her. He asks her to let him go and escapes to the kitchen, where he locks her out. She cries, banging on the glass for him to let her in.

Qing continues to cry as she walks home, trying to convince herself that this is good. Her mom didn’t want them to date anyway. But she collapses in the middle of the sidewalk, crying. Eventually she picks herself back up and slowly hobbles home. She doesn’t see Ting En behind her, watching her and crying himself while he whispers, “I’m sorry. It’s better for you this way. This is the right thing to do.”

Ah Wei is on the rooftop when Qing gets home, but she doesn’t even notice him and instead goes straight to her room like a zombie. She sits in the dark and whispers to herself, “I never want to fall in love again.” Ah Wei mutters that Ting En has crossed the line and storms downstairs, where Ting En has followed Qing home and is sitting on the ground. Ah Wei immediately punches him and warns him to never show his face again.

The next morning, Qing makes the curry stew that Ting En taught her before he broke up with her. She imagines him there, talking to her, as she cooks. When she tastes the final product, it reminds her of him. She understands why Ting En never wanted to eat white curry before. The taste of the food brings back memories that can sometimes be painful.

Qing removes herself from the group. Ah Wei follows to check on her. He tells her she can just focus on her dream now and forget about everything else. Now that he’s home, he can help her with all his family’s resources. Qing is determined to improve herself. She tells Ah Wei that he seems like he’s grown up these past few weeks. He seems like a reliable man now.

She switches topics to poll her friends for a restaurant name. Ah Wei suggests “Curry Shop Number One.” Qing likes it; it’ll work well with expanding into a chain as well.

Time passes. Qing adjusts to her role as a businesswoman, learning business from Xiao Bin and fashion from Ru Xi. She tries to balance planning her new curry restaurant with Yanisi obligations. Meanwhile, Ting En designs a food truck and opens up shop on the streets. It’s an ironic turn of events, because their roles have reversed perfectly since the beginning of the show.

Finally, the day of Qing’s restaurant opening dawns. Ting En watches from a distance as she cuts the ribbon and welcomes the first customers in. Once everyone has gone inside, Qing notices a box set on a planter nearby. Inside are some flowers made of chocolate. She seems to know it’s from Ting En, but doesn’t think to look for him until he’s already gone.

Ru Xi and Tian Zhi are now married after she became pregnant. She didn’t get pregnant from that first one night stand, but then they hooked up again after Tian Zhi punched Ting En and Ru Xi took him home to treat his injured hand.

A year later, Ah Wei has a delivery app in the works with the night market fam called Yes Mighty (which sounds like ye shi mai di, or “bought at the night market”). Meanwhile, Qing is making international headlines and juggling multiple roles as founder of the Tableland chain, chairman of Yanisi, and executive chef at La Mure. She runs her kitchen with an iron hand that mirrors the way Huo Ting En ran the same kitchen over a year ago.

After another long day, Qing reflects on what Ting En once told her at the cocktail party so long ago. He told her that her life wouldn’t necessarily be easier if she were rich and at the head of a company like him. Instead, she might find that she’s so busy, she has little time to spend with her family and instead will spend most of her time worrying about the many employees she’s responsible for. Now, she realizes that he was right. She thought money would bring her happiness, yet now she just feels alone.

Xiao Bin helps Ting En set up his food truck and asks him how long he plans on playing at being a nomad. He thinks Ting En belongs in a Michelin star kitchen, not on the streets. But Ting En says that he finds this life quite fulfilling. He spends a lot of time at the senior community where Yu-jie‘s po-po lives and now knows a lot of the residents by name. He and Xiao Bin lead the seniors in a round of dancing. They paste smiles on their faces while Xiao Bin asks why Ting En hasn’t checked on Qing. Does he not love her or has he forgotten her? Ting En responds that he just doesn’t to bother her. He’s seen all the articles. She seems to be doing well for herself.

Later, Ting En is enjoying his lunch break all by his lonesome when he gets a call from Xiao Bin inviting him to lunch. While digging through his bag for his phone, he accidentally drops a piece of paper and leaves it behind. A little while later, Qing sits down nearby, alone. She notices the paper and opens it to find the handwritten contract she made Ting En sign back on day one at La Mure. Realizing that Ting En must have been nearby, she looks around wildly for him and yells his name. She starts crying, asking why he keeps avoiding her.

Ah Wei, Tian Zhi, and Brian all go to Qing’s office hoping to get her input on their respective issues. But she tells them that they’re each in leadership positions of their own and she trusts them to make the right decisions. She heads out to grab lunch.

But she barely eats her food at the French restaurant she goes to. She’s eaten at fifty-one different French restaurants hoping to feel closer to Ting En, yet none of the flavors of their food have been close to his style. She cries a bit at how lonely she feels, then leaves without taking more than a bite. Qing walks down the street, still hungry, when she hears and smells the sound of a food truck. It’s Ting En’s truck. He’s wearing a cap and mask and immediately recognizes Qing, ducking his head so that she can’t recognize him.

The food truck menu is titled “The Legend of Curry,” which piques Qing’s interest. She orders, and Ting En motions at her how much she needs to pay so he doesn’t have to speak and give himself away. She gets her food and walks away without realizing who he is. He watches her go. Qing is only a short distance away when she takes a bite of her sandwich. Her eyes widen and she turns to look back at the food truck.

I don’t like how Ting En’s sudden decision to break up with Qing was so abrupt and unexplained. I’m sure we’ll get an explanation later, but I usually hate these kinds of erratic decisions! However, I am also a sucker for these sorts of storylines where we fast-forward and our female lead glows up, and our main couple lead these separate but almost intersecting lives and never quite manage to meet. And then one day they do meet. I love that initial re-meeting. It always feels so satisfying, like seeing an ex after a few years and knowing that you’ve grown so much beyond them. Which I suppose is exactly what’s happening here.

That initial breakup scene was a little too long for my tastes — just 15 minutes of crying. But I do respect Ivy Shao’s devotion to the ugly cry. Hair in mouth? Drool and snot dripping everywhere? No problem, just keep crying.

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