Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: A Love So Beautiful (Ep. 16)

Xiao Xi tries to help Bo Song with math homework, but they’re both pretty bad at it. They settle for doing their Chinese homework instead because, as Bo Song put it, at least they can read the words if it’s Chinese.

Xiao Xi studies at the dinner table and barely eats before retreating to her room to study more. She stares out at Jiang Chen’s dark bedroom window and wonders when he’ll be back.

With only 100 days left until the gaokao, all the students are exhausted from studying. Xiao Xi and Jing Xiao chat about their respective crushes, with Jing Xiao finally admitting that she was moved by Lu Yang’s confession and likes him back. But she can’t find him. Xiao Xi encourages her to try a bit harder; maybe hide in places he won’t look.

Jiang Chen returns from Beijing to praise and applause from Teacher Liu and his classmates.

Teacher Liu tells the class to write down where they want to go to school and who they want to be in the future so that they can share them on the blackboard and be inspired by one another. Xiao Xi doesn’t know what to write down so she peeks around at her classmates’ papers. Jing Xiao confidently writes down that she wants to go to Zhejiang University and be an astronomer. Jiang Chen hides what he writes from her. Only Bo Song’s paper is just as blank as hers.

She and Bo Song chat in the library. He asks if she would be upset if he quit swimming. She responds that she’d feel upset for him, but how she feels about it doesn’t matter. Jiang Chen walks by in the library. Xiao Xi tries to get him to help them but Bo Song says they don’t need help. Jiang Chen comments that they’re both pretty bold; one is bold enough to explain and the other bold enough to listen. It’s a subtle insult and seems to go over Xiao Xi’s head, but Bo Song glares. Okay, that was pretty funny, I’ll give Jiang Chen that one.

Jing Xiao goes to find Lu Yang by barging into his room so that his only option is to hide under the covers, which is really no hiding place at all. She tries to talk to him, sharing what they went over in class and trying to share her notes, but he rejects her help and asks her not to come again. She rips up her notes and storms out. Lu Yang picks up the pieces after she leaves.

Xiao Xi struggles to decide what she wants to do in the future. She ends up writing “Jiang family’s daughter-in-law” and chuckling to herself. She looks through her yearbook. Jiang Chen is the only person who hasn’t signed it.

Jiang Chen goes to the hospital and sees a young girl crying. He gives her some yakult and asks why she’s crying. She responds that her mom said her dad might not come back, which reminds him of when he was in the same situation. But then her mother hurries over and says that her father is fine.

Jiang Chen visits Lu Yang, who is busy taping Jing Xiao’s notes back together. He asks if he really plans on giving up on Jing Xiao. Lu Yang responds that he doesn’t have the right to like anyone with a health condition like his. He doesn’t even know how serious his condition is because his parents and doctor won’t tell him.

Lu Yang asks Jiang Chen about Tsinghua. Jiang Chen says he’s not going to Tsinghua anymore. He wants to study medicine… and he wants to stay by Xiao Xi’s side. That’s great… is he going to tell her that though?

He tells Lu Yang to stop avoiding Jing Xiao. Lu Yang is worried about hurting her now, but more worried about how much she’ll be hurt if something happens to him later.

Jiang Chen tells her mother that he doesn’t want to study math at Tsinghua because he wants to study medicine. His mother exclaims, “Absolutely not!” But then catches herself and says they can discuss it after his scores come out.

Xiao Xi drags Jiang Chen into the classroom to teach her math. He watches her for a bit, then dozes off. She leans in close, but then he opens his eyes and stares right at her. Bo Song sees them through an open window.

Jiang Chen asks Xiao Xi what she’s doing. She responds, “If I said I was trying to wipe your sweat, would you believe me?” He turns away and tells her she should stop nibbling on her pen.

Bo Song obliviously walks through a soccer game and gets hit hard by a player. His nose starts bleeding and he goes to the nurse’s office, where he tears up while the nurse treats his injury.

Principal Zhang lectures the class about dating at school, trying to figure out who the offending couples are. Bo Song gets a phone call in the middle of the tirade and abruptly runs out of class after finding out that his grandma has wandered off and is missing. Zhang tries to go after him, but Xiao Xi stands up to try and explain the situation. He just turns on her instead. Jiang Chen stands up to divert attention from her, and several other students all stand up with increasingly outrageous statements that distract him.

Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen run off to help Bo Song. Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen eventually find her near a mall, but she doesn’t recognize any of them and tries to run away. They try to corral her, and she ends up biting Jiang Chen to try and escape. He endures it until Bo Song is able to break through to his grandma. But she mistakes Bo Song for his father, and Jiang Chen for Bo Song. She gives Jiang Chen some swimming goggles and says that her little Song will be a world champion swimmer one day. Bo Song looks sad. Jiang Chen helps him bring his grandmother home.

Xiao Xi leaves the two boys alone to buy Jiang Chen some medicine for his arm. Bo Song thanks Jiang Chen, then tells him he’s decided to try and swim again. Jiang Chen responds that he’s decided not to go to Beijing. “I’ll leave Xiao Xi in your care then,” Bo Song says. “Who says she’s yours to leave?” Jiang Chen responds, but it’s all good-natured.

Bo Song’s father helps clear up the situation with Principal Zhang. Bo Song announces that he’s dropping out of school to focus on swimming. They all say goodbye, and Jiang Chen and Bo Song exchange a meaningful look and a nod.

Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen ride home together. Xiao Xi muses over how everyone seems to know exactly what they want to do: Bo Song’s swimming, he’s going to Tsinghua, Jing Xiao is going to be an astronomer. But Jiang Chen says he’s not going to Tsinghua, which shocks Xiao Xi to an abrupt stop. He tells her that he plans on studying medicine at Zhejiang University. She’s delighted and says she’ll apply to schools nearby: she wants to study art. She asks him to sign her yearbook, but he says no. Yearbooks are for people who will be leaving each other.

Bo Song trains. He and his father finally have a good relationship, and as he watches all the younger kids jump into the pool, he’s reminded of when he first started swimming and how his father forced him into the water. After practice, he sees Xiao Xi’s poster for him in his locker. He takes off running.

Xiao Xi gets a text from Bo Song asking to meet at the school auditorium. It’s dark inside, but suddenly a spotlight shines down on the stage and Bo Song steps out. He gives a pretty speech about how he likes her. She starts crying. He hops down and says, “Don’t worry, I’ve already decided not to like you. I’m here to say goodbye.” He goes back on stage and composes himself, then turns around forces a smile, says goodbye, reaches out a hand, then runs off.

Jiang Chen gets his letter of admission to Tsinghua. He tries to tell his mother that he doesn’t want to go to Tsinghua but she refuses to listen. He tells her that going to Tsinghua is her dream, and studying math is his father’s dream, but his own dream is to study medicine at Zhejiang University. His mother tells him that it’s not his choice to make: his admission letter is already here. But he says that he will makes his own choices.

Jiang Chen’s brother asks him why he isn’t going to Tsinghua, then asks if Jiang Chen dislikes him. Is that why he’s always ignoring him and won’t talk to him? Jiang Chen admits that he used to envy his brother when they were younger because his father would always scold him while protecting his brother. But now he’s realized that their father just expressed his affection in different ways. Jiang Chen’s brother says that he’ll support him in his choice to not go to Tsinghua as long as he likes him.

The day of the gaokao arrives and the students all take the exam. A pan over the chalkboard reveals our protagonists’ aspirations: Bo Song wants to be a swimmer, Jing Xiao wants to be an astronomer, Xiao Xi wants to be a cartoonist, Jiang Chen wants to be a doctor, and Lu Yang just wants to be healthy.

Epilogue: Bo Song gives some advice to a young boy who refuses to get into the water. He tells him that the water isn’t scary and can be quite fun. He should give it a try. The kid responds, “I don’t want to. Are you trying to kill me?” Bo Song has nothing to say to that.

Wow! So much progress was made this episode. Jiang Chen finally verbalized his feelings. I mean, he didn’t actually verbalize them, unlike Bo Song, who if nothing else is a great communicator, but this is basically as close as we’re going to get.

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