Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: A Love So Beautiful (Ep. 13)

Xiao Xi cries silently on the bus ride back to school. Wu Bo Song walks her home. Jiang Chen trails behind them. Once Xiao Xi goes upstairs, Bo Song turns to face Jiang Chen. He tells him that he knows Xiao Xi likes him, but she won’t in the future. Jiang Chen responds, “Try and see.”

In her room, Xiao Xi continues to cry while ripping apart her drawings of her and Jiang Chen as a couple. Jiang Chen thinks about texting her, but then decides against it.

The next morning, Xiao Xi heads off to school without waiting for Jiang Chen, who shouts, “Hey” after her.

Xiao Xi does poorly on the most recent exam. Lu Yang also doesn’t do well and suggests that they should get Jing Xiao and Jiang Chen to tutor them. Jiang Chen is willing to, but Xiao Xi says she did so poorly that tutoring wouldn’t help.

Later, Xiao Xi hops through an open windowframe just so she won’t have to cross paths with Jiang Chen. She admits to Lin Jing Xiao that she wants to give up on her crush. They run into Lu Yang and Jiang Chen at the store. Xiao Xi runs away and angers the cash register by leaving behind an opened bag of chips she didn’t pay for. Jiang Chen offers to pay for it instead.

Lu Yang coaches Jiang Chen on how to make things up with Xiao Xi and convinces him to buy her some yakult. But Xiao Xi doesn’t accept it.

In class, one of the students checks out horoscopes for couple compatibility based on the number of strokes in their names. Turns out Li Shu (Dr. Li) and Lu Yang have the same number of strokes in their name. That number and Jing Xiao’s number are a match made in heaven. The classmates notice that Jing Xiao and Lu Yang both asked for the same number combination and think that they like each other. Lu Yang makes the same misunderstanding. Jing Xiao is oblivious.

Lin Jing Xiao, Jiang Chen, and Li Wei get commended by Teacher Liu for their top marks and tells them they have great prospects for university admissions. She notices that Li Wei’s grades have been inconsistent recently and warns her that she’ll need to pick things back up if she wants to keep up her class rank.

Xiao Xi struggles over her classwork. Lu Yang and Wu Bo Song are in the same boat. When Jiang Chen returns to the classroom, Lu Yang asks him to help, but Xiao Xi says she doesn’t want help and walks out of the room.

Wu Bo Song follows her out of the classroom and offers to help even though they’re both struggling. Li Wei and Qiao Lu walk by. Li Wei bumps into Xiao Xi, knocking an open water bottle out of her hands, but Xiao Xi starts apologizing. Li Wei and Qiao Lu both yell at Xiao Xi for being clumsy. Jiang Chen notices the commotion and comes out, then asks Li Wei to come back into the classroom with him, which only makes Xiao Xi feel worse.

Wu Bo Song asks a teacher for help. All the teachers are shocked that he’s being studious and actually cares about his schoolwork, but the teacher happily helps him. Bo Song tries to teach Xiao Xi what he learned but doesn’t quite get it.

Lu Yang can tell that Jiang Chen doesn’t know what to do about Xiao Xi and decides to coach him some more. But he ends up telling Jiang Chen that obviously Xiao Xi likes him because she thinks he’s good-looking, so they should try to exploit that some more to win her back.

Jiang Chen’s brother asks him for advice on how to respond to a love letter. Jiang Chen confiscates the letter and gets inspired by it to win over Xiao Xi with his piano skills. Lol. He’s getting relationship advice from his brother who must be all of eight years old.

It seems like it might work, because Xiao Xi hears Jiang Chen playing piano and then has heart eyes all over again. They make eye contact and he smiles at her, but she still doesn’t smile bac.

Li Wei asks to sit with Jiang Chen, which doesn’t escape Xiao Xi’s notice. She sighs to Lin Jing Xiao that people called Jiang Chen and Li Wei a golden couple in middle school after they did a piano duet together, and now she thinks they’re right.

After school, Jiang Chen offers to give Xiao Xi a ride home on his bike, but she refuses. Bo Song zooms by as well and offers to take Xiao Xi out to have some fun. She accepts and they go off on his bike.

They end up just going to the pool where Bo Song tries to cheer Xiao Xi up by having her time his laps and then performs some water ballet. But when he gets out of the pool, he suddenly clings to his shoulder in pain. She wants to wait with him for the results at the hospital, but he convinces her to go home, saying that he’s probably fine. When his dad comes in with an umbrella, he realizes it’s raining and rushes to give Xiao Xi the umbrella to take home.

The doctor tells Bo Song’s father that he’s been overtraining and needs to take a break otherwise he may do irreparable damage to his body/

Jiang Chen waits for Xiao Xi outside their building. It gets dark and starts raining, so he grabs an umbrella to wait for Xiao Xi. But walks back on the phone with Bo Song under the umbrella he gave her, and Jiang Chen frowns.

Jiang Chen is almost late for the midterm exams the next morning. Li Wei struggles and ends up cheating, but gets caught by Principal Zhang, who is furious and wants it to go on her permanent record. Her classmates gossip about her cheating and speculate that she only has good grades because she’s a cheater. Li Wei hears when she gets back.

During recess, Qiao Lu starts accusing Xiao Xi of insulting Li Wei behind her back. Jing Xiao jumps to her defense, saying she’s never said a bad word about Li Wei. Jiang Chen hears the commotion and tries to pull Xiao Xi away, but she throws off his arm and says she has nothing to apologize for before stalking off.

Li Wei is sent to see Dr. Li, who asks what’s bothering her. She admits that she’s afraid of disappointing her mother and can’t sleep, and gets diagnosed with mild depression. Dr. Li warns Teacher Liu that her symptoms are mild for now, but it’s imperative that the teachers and other students not add to her stress.

Principal Zhang wants to expel Li Wei. He doesn’t want to deal with her cheating issue or the liability of having a depressed student. Both Dr. Li and Teacher Liu advocate for keeping Li Wei in school.

Xiao Xi runs into Jiang Chen while walking on campus and scrambles to avoid him by tying her shoe… except she’s wearing slippers. She tries to run away but falls. Jiang Chen rushes to her side and gently picks her up and sits her down on a bench, then cleans and gently blows on her scrapes.

She tries to say she’s fine, but Jiang Chen insists on giving her a piggyback ride home. As he walks along, he tells Xiao Xi that the situation with Li Wei was not what it looked like, but it’s not his place to tell Xiao Xi about Li Wei’s problems. Xiao Xi responds, “But I tell you everything.” He freezes for a moment, then silently keeps walking.

Epilogue: Xiao Xi sobs while trying to piece back together one of the drawings she tore apart. She meticulously tapes the drawing back together and slides it back into her notebook.

This episode was marginally better than the past few. While it seems to me like Xiao Xi is being willfully overdramatic, I much prefer her being angry/avoiding Jiang Chen rather than letting him trample all over her. That moment where she stood up for herself against Qiao Lu’s accusations, while obviously motivated by jealousy, was a nice touch.

What I liked the most was that Jiang Chen is forced to actually try and be nice to Xiao Xi for once – to her face. Before, he would do things in secret for her but never show her that he cared, and it was really frustrating to see him take her attention for granted. Now that he’s forced to treat her better, he also seems more human.

I also appreciate the conversation about mental health and depression. The Chinese high school system is notorious for being a pressure cooker for students, and it’s always great to see media portrayals and conversations about mental health as a topic and teachers as advocates for mental wellness.

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