Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: The Perfect Match (Ep. 22)

Qing takes a bite of her sandwich. It’s the coronation chicken recipe Ting En made before, but in a sandwich, like she and Ah Wei had brainstormed. She turns to stare back at the food truck, where its owner (Ting En) is watching her, but he soon gets some more customers and she doesn’t approach him. Instead, she goes home where she contemplates her half-eaten sandwich, lost in thought.

Ah Wei comes in and updates her on how the Yes Mighty app launch is going, but she’s not really listening. Instead, she takes a bite of her sandwich and identifies the spice combo: 51920, wo yi jiu ai ni, I still love you.

Each bite brings back a memory of Ting En. She sniffles a little and smiles as she tells Ah Wei, “I found Huo Ting En.” He forces a smile back at her, then hangs his head when she turns away.

Qing goes back to the food truck. Ting En still refuses to speak to her, but she stares at him, trying to figure out what to say. Finally, she settles for a “thank you” and walks away.

Once she’s gone, Ting En tasks of his mask and says, “Forget it, I’m not coming back here.” And tells Xiao Bin he can stop hiding; his boss his gone. Xiao Bin calls him out for not letting go of Qing but pretending he has. He tells Ting En that it’s not fair to let the previous generation’s mistakes affect them. It’s not fair to Qing. We learn that Ting En was there that night when Qing’s mother forbade her from marrying Ting En.

But Ting En asks Xiao Bin what he would do if it were him instead of Qing. Would they still be friends if he knew that Ting En’s father was responsible for the death of his own? “Admit it,” Ting En says, “You wouldn’t be able to.” Ting En admits that he doesn’t know how to face Qing or her mother. He doesn’t want Qing to have to choose between him and her family for the rest of her life.

It seems like everyone is hiding everywhere, because Ah Wei listens in on their conversation from around the corner of the food truck and sighs as he realizes how much Ting En has sacrificed for Qing.

At night, Shu Feng asks Ah Wei if she made the wrong choice. Qing used to express herself so freely, yet now her smiles seem more sad than her tears. Perhaps she shouldn’t have let the grudges of the past affect the future happiness of her children. Ah Wei responds that he can’t really comment on that, but says that Qing’s happiness should be more important than past problems that can no longer be resolved. Shu Feng nods and says that he’s right as she blinks back tears. She no longer has a husband; she can’t lose her daughter as well.

Shu Feng meets with Grandma Huo again and says she finally understands what Grandma meant all those months ago about not letting the grudges of the past dictate the future. They both agree that the children’s happiness comes first. Shu Feng is even willing to lie to make that happen.

She tells Qing that she was able to clear up the misunderstanding surrounding Shi Li’s death. She tells a pretty story about how Shi Li and Zheng Nian had been collaborators all along. They ran into a group of thieves who stole his money and caused the accident, and Shi Li, who was always focused on his work, tore out the key pages of his notebook and insisted Zheng Nian take them. Shu Feng says that now that this misunderstanding has cleared up, Qing and Ting En can get married. After all, they’ve been engaged for so long at this point.

But Qing responds that her break up with Ting En had nothing to do with her father’s accident and the role Huo Zheng Nian may have played in it. She tells her mother not to worry. She’s grown up and will make sure to live well.

This convenient revision of history has also made its way around to Xiao Bin and Ting En. But Ting En also says that his break up with Qing was much more complicated than their fathers’ relationship to each other. He now regrets the words he used, but thinks that perhaps it’s better this way. Better to let the past be the past. Besides, Qing probably hates him. She hasn’t demonstrated any sort of interest in him to Xiao Bin. Sure, he’ll still have some regret, but perhaps they should both move on.

But of course, as fate would have it, it isn’t that easy. Qing goes to look for Ting En’s food truck again, but it’s gone. She’s about to leave when a man approaches with a phone in hand, asking if it’s hers or a friend’s, because she’s in the phone background. It’s not her phone: it’s Ting En’s. But Qing says she’s no longer friends with Ting En. Instead, she pulls up Xiao Bin’s number and tells the man that he can call Xiao Bin to return the phone.

Xiao Bin gets a call from the phone finder and discovers that he met Qing but that she refused to take the phone and return it to Ting En. Ting En takes this as proof that she hates him, telling Xiao Bin, “I told you so.” Xiao Bin tries to argue with him, but he refuses to listen.

But Ting En clearly still misses Qing, because he goes to spy on her at the night market, where she still sometimes works at a stall with Ah Wei. He and Xiao Bin watch as Ah Wei wipes some tomato sauce off her face. They seem happy and look like they’re together. Ting En smiles bitterly and says that she seems fine. There’s no reason for him to come back. He’ll just be a nuisance.

But once he and Xiao Bin leave, Qing seems to suddenly sense that Ting En was there. She looks around for him and calls out his name, starting to get agitated, but he’s nowhere in sight.

Ah Wei walks her home later. When he leaves, she’s about to go inside, but then some instinct makes her turn and look… and she spots Ting En hiding behind a tree. She calls out his name, but he turns and starts to walk away. But when she follows and calls out to him again, he stops, but doesn’t turn around. Qing tells him that she’s grown up. She’s not the little girl he knew before, and she heard from her mom that the situation with their fathers was all a misunderstanding. So will he stay?

“I really miss you,” she says as she embraces him from behind. She tells him how she now understands what he said about money not bringing happiness, and how she feels so alone. She asks if they can start over. He nods and says, “Let’s start over.” She closes her eyes happily.

But when she opens them, she realizes that she had imagined the whole thing. There is no Ting En watching from behind a tree. He wasn’t there at all.

Instead, Ting En is at a bar with Xiao Bin, alternating between doing shots and puking his guts out. He insists that he’s drinking because he’s happy for Qing. Psh, please. Xiao Bin tells Ting En that he should just forget about her, then. But he says he can’t forget her and drinks some more. He’s so wasted he falls out of his chair and needs Xiao Bin plus another waiter to help stand him back up. Xiao Bin hugs him and tells him that even if no one else loves him, he will love him. Ting En drunkenly blubbers that Xiao Bin has to protect Qing for him.

Ah Wei tells Qing he wants to report Ting En for copyright infringement. The name of his food truck is too similar to one of their own brands. Qing doesn’t want to, but Ah Wei says he’s already found a lawyer and scheduled a meeting with Ting En. All she has to do is show up. He tells her that in matters of business like this, she can’t let herself be ruled by her emotions.

At the settlement meeting, Qing stares at Ting En while he looks ahead and refuses to look her in the eye. It starts out with Qing’s lawyer accusing Ting En of copyright infringement or purposely luring Qing out so that she’ll be forced to buy naming rights off of him for a hefty price. But it turns into a much more personal conversation between Qing and Ting En as they discuss what happened between them, but reach no conclusion, all while Xiao Bin, Ah Wei, and the lawyer sit awkwardly and listen to them.

Qing calls Ting En out on his mixed messaging. He was the one who left, yet now he’s the one leaving encoded number messages to try and express his feelings and make her come back? Why should she be the one who goes to him, when he was the one who left in the first place? Ting En tries to play it cool, but is clearly still a bit bitter and jealous, saying that her life seemed great and maybe she already had a partner and didn’t need him anymore. “So now you’re trying to blame me?” she asks incredulously. He’s clearly the one who has been avoiding her, and she rightly calls out that they wouldn’t even have met and he wouldn’t have been so forthcoming if not for her (well really, Ah Wei) accusing him of copyright infringement.

“Well now you know,” he says. And what does she want to do now that she knows? “Shouldn’t you be asking yourself that?” she asks. They look at each other for a long moment, the longest eye contact Ting En’s been willing to make for a while. He looks away then sighs, saying if there’s nothing else he’s out, and flippantly leaves. Silent tears drip down Qing’s face.

Xiao Bin goes to find Ah Wei, angry that he would try to sue Ting En. He says they should resolve their problem the real manly way. Meaning fighting. Except they end up just posturing at each other for a long time without exchanging fists and tire each other out. Xiao Bin decides to do things the civil way instead and have a conversation.

Ah Wei explains himself. Except we can’t hear what it is, but we just see a lot of hand motions and impassioned expressions, and in the end, Xiao Bin and Ah Wei high five.

Qing asks Ah Wei why he wanted to sue Ting En. Ah Wei says that he did it for her, because he knew that without a forced meeting like this, she and Ting En would have never met. He tells her she can treat it like a birthday gift. She tries to say something, but he doesn’t let her. Instead, he brings up the birthday wish she owes him, and says he’ll make the wish now.

To her surprise, he wishes for her and Ting En to live happily ever after. He doesn’t want them to miss each other or have regrets when they so clearly love each other. He turns and sees her crying, and even though his own eyes are red, he tries to keep things light, saying she can’t go back on her word now. He already made the wish and can’t take it away. The only thing he can give her now is a hug as a friend.

She hugs him, then jokes that he’s an idiot for giving his original birthday wish to her, and now giving her own birthday wish back to her. He really got the short end of the stick. They both smile through tears as he says that it’s no big deal because she’s family. And now, if Ting En won’t come find her, they can go find her. Who said that the man always has to take the lead?

Ting En is sitting all by his lonesome when Xiao Bin shows up with a woman. It’s Ms. Huang, the woman whose boyfriend he pretended to be a while ago, and she’s now his wife. She lets the two friends talk. Xiao Bin starts berating Ting En for being a useless, terrible person. Ting En is shocked that Xiao Bin is mad at him. Xiao Bin calms down a bit to tell him that he’s being extremely selfish while masquerading as being self-sacrificing. There’s nothing noble about what he’s doing to himself when he’s also hurting everyone around him.

Xiao Bin points out that Qing changed herself for him, but has he changed himself for her? No. Xiao Bin says that he wants to see Ting En be brave for once. Be brave enough to face Qing, be brave enough to face himself. He starts crying as he tells Ting En that it makes him unhappy to see Ting En unable to find happiness. He doesn’t like seeing Ting En act the way he did when he lost his sister. Didn’t Ting En once say he would treasure the people he cared about? “Why do you think I help you so much? I just want to see you be happy!” Xiao Bin says. He starts sobbing in earnest and cries, “Why do you have to be like this?” (Awwww what a sweetheart! I love Xiao Bin.)

Ting En starts tearing up listening to Xiao Bin’s heartfelt expressions, and tells him to stop crying. He grabs Xiao Bin’s wife and puts her between them as a buffer, telling her that Xiao Bin might have some flaws but he’s really a very good man. He hugs them both, saying thank you, before running off.

Running, running, running… Qing is also running. Running, running, running… Ting En runs through a flock of pigeons who part dramatically for him. Qing runs through a path full of heart balloons. She spots Ting En running and yells, “Huo Ting En, where do you think you’re going?!” He slips as he tries to change direction and tells her that he was looking for her.

She repeats her initial challenge to him, but this time with some adjustments, but tells him that in seven days she can prove that her chicken is better than his. He plays along, but gets serious when he asks her to give him seven days to get her back. He apologizes for being selfish when he broke up with her a year ago. Since then, he’s found the direction he wants to take his life, yet realized he’s still missing something: her. He realized that from the day he first met her, she had made him whole. “Just give me a chance to get you back,” he pleads.

Qing flings herself into his arms, saying, “You talk too much.” She tells him that she doesn’t need seven days: she’ll take him back right now. They kiss, surrounded by floating heart balloons.

Epilogue: In a parallel universe where Wei Shi Li never got into a car accident, Ting En and Xiao Bin run a food truck where they have to physically accost people in order to get customers. One day, they run into Wei Fen Qing, a famous chef, and challenge her.

Ahhh! It’s over!

Overall, I found these last few episodes rather disappointing. The drama with the fathers felt contrived. We knew it was coming, but everyone acted so out of character to create a perfect breakup situation, and it feels weird that this whole thing could be smoothed over with a pretty unconvincing lie. We could’ve done without Mama Qing and Grandma Huo lying and made Ting En come to terms with himself by himself, and I feel like that would have been more meaningful. I wish they didn’t have to go through the whole mess of him pointlessly hurting her like all the other dramas, because it feels like it erased their easy chemistry from before, but I suppose that is the way these things go.

The happy ending is no surprise, because it’s a basic tenet of rom-coms to have a happy ending. I thought this finale was done as well as it could be with all the set up of the last two episodes. Qing and Ting En literally met in each other in the middle getting back together, so at least that part of their characters didn’t get lost!

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