Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: A Love So Beautiful (Ep. 17)

Jiang Chen waits for Xiao Xi after the gaokao ends. Lu Yang also waits for Jing Xiao outside her exam room. She walks past him without a word, then pauses and asks, “Aren’t you coming with me?”

The class meets for one last time after the gaokao is over. Everyone, including Teacher Liu, gets a little teary-eyed and sentimental as she talks about how this is the last time they’ll all be together and that she wishes them success in the future.

When Xiao Xi returns home, her mother insists on conducting a ritual to give her luck on the exams (that she already took). Jiang Chen’s mother insists that he must go to Tsinghua.

Two weeks later (wow we finally get an explanation of time??) the results are out. Xiao Xi nervously checks her score, and it’s decent. She hurries to Jiang Chen’s to report her score. He invites her out to get a drink like she wanted. Okay, they cute. She walks backward and he tells her to keep her eyes on the road, but she responds he can be her eyes. He asks why she doesn’t ask him what he scored. She says she knows that he’ll get into whatever school he wants. She trusts him.

Bo Song narrowly wins his race and gets lectured by his father, who says that he has to do better in the future. If he doesn’t win nationals, there’s no way he’ll make the team.

The students fill out their college declaration forms. Jiang Chen gets told that he has to wait for his mom to arrive and approve his final list. Xiao Xi waits outside for him, but hides from his mom.

Jiang Chen’s mom disapproves of his ordering (Zhejiang first, Tsinghua second.) She says that if he won’t change it, she’ll do it for him. Jiang Chen warns her that even if she changes the order, that doesn’t change the result: if he goes to Tsinghua, he’ll just end up dropping out. He leaves with Xiao Xi.

Lu Yang asks Jing Xiao what she thinks of his illness. Could he get a girlfriend if there is a cure? She responds that he could have a girlfriend even if there is no cure. He thinks it would be unfair to the girl… she grabs him by the shirt collar and asks, “Do you have a girlfriend?” He says no. She responds, “Now you do” and quickly scurries away. He chases after her. Cute.

Xiao Xi asks Jiang Chen if he’s serious about not going to Tsinghua. He says he is.

Jiang Chen gets into Zhejiang University. His brother celebrates and even his mom gives him a smile and a pat on the shoulder. Jing Xiao also gets in and tells her mom the good news. She texts Lu Yang, who hurries to check his own admission result. He got into his own choice, a second-tier school that is only two bus stops away from Zhejiang University.

Xiao Xi doesn’t get into any of her schools. Her parents try to comfort her saying that they’ve already agreed that they’ll send her abroad for undergrad. She doesn’t respond and they leave her alone. Jiang Chen calls her but she doesn’t pick up. His brother suggests that he just go over and see her.

Jiang Chen goes to talk to Xiao Xi. He knocks and at first she thinks it’s her mom. When he says, “It’s me,” she thinks he’s her dad. LOL. He has to clarify that he’s Jiang Chen. She immediately yanks him into the room, but ends up just sitting on the ground and crying while they hear her parents whisper at the door. He suggests they go out for a walk instead.

Bo Song gets ready for the big race. And wins. The first thing he does is call Xiao Xi, but she doesn’t pick up. She sniffles silently on a park bench, waiting for Jiang Chen, who comes back with some snacks. He hands her a tissue and tells her that she can cry if she wants. She immediately starts sobbing loudly about how scared and lost she feels.

He tries to comfort her by saying that she can try applying to art school directly. He believes in his own ability to get her in. Besides, medical school is five years, so even if she’s delayed a year, they will still graduate together. “But what if I don’t graduate on time?” she asks. Lol. And then she’s hungry, which means everything is okay.

She returns home and tells her parents that she’s going to spend the next year studying to retake the college entrance exam.

Bo Song finds out from Lu Yang that Xiao Xi plans on re-taking the college entrance exam. He gets interviewed for his championship win, which Xiao Xi watches on TV. The interviewer asks if he has anything to add, and he calls out Xiao Xi directly, saying he believes that she will be successful in re-taking the entrance exam. Jiang Chen watches interview at home and mutes the TV, rolling his eyes. But Xiao Xi’s only takeaway is that now the whole country knows she has to retake the exam. LOL.

Jiang Chen heads off for college. Xiao Xi sends him off. He tells her she can call him anytime if she needs help with studying. He’ll be waiting at Zhejiang University for her.

Some time later (where are the helpful time captions now?)! Xiao Xi attends an art class. (So… is this is a year later? She got in?) She gets to the classroom early and marvels at everything, then eats a grape from a still life reference. Later, during class, she suddenly gets nauseous.

Jiang Chen gets dinner with a friend and wonders why Xiao Xi hasn’t contacted him all day. A girl comes over to ask him studying medicine and whether he can help her study, but he coolly tells her that it’s not that easy and she should just give up. His friend tries to talk to him, but he goes on his phone and ignores him.

Xiao Xi stays late at the studio working. So late that the security guard begs her to go home so he can lock up. Jiang Chen calls her while she’s walking home, but acts like she was the one who called him. He says that he’ll just hang up then, and she says that’s good because she needs to go back to study. He stares at his phone in disbelief then kicks a concrete block. Xiao Xi not wanting to talk and wanting to study? Huh?

Helpful time caption! Counting down the days (100… then 37) until the art college entrance exam. Okay, so not a full year later, but almost. The three Zhejiang college kids surprise Xiao Xi in her art studio. Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen each open their arms to hug. She rushes toward him, but he stops her with a hand to the forehead. Lol.

Bo Song shows up as well. He hugs Lu Yang then goes to hug Jiang Chen but gets warned off by Xiao Xi. Ahh cute. Jiang Chen actually smiling and being warm.

Xiao Xi works hard, staying up late to work on her art and her studying. Jiang Chen is there to support her, answering the phone late at night when she needs help with a problem.

Xiao Xi calls Jiang Chen after the art college entrance exam, saying she thinks she did well. He tells her she can’t relax yet because she still has the gaokao.

The night before the gaokao, Jiang Chen’s roommates chat about the exam. One of them has PTSD because it took him four tries before he got into college. Jiang Chen texts Xiao Xi some encouragement… and actually hits send! (I mean, he better, it’s been like a year already I would hope he doesn’t delete his texts instead of sending them…)

A month later (more time captions!) Xiao Xi gets into Zhejiang University. She and Jiang Chen hang out and “celebrate” by going to a bookstore. He sends her over to the manga section while he shops for a Chinese medicine book.

Bo Song also happens to be in the bookstore. Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi find out from him that Lu Yang arranged a karaoke celebration for her getting into college that night.

At karaoke, every wants to drink with Xiao Xi. Both Bo Song and Jiang Chen watch her with concern. The classmate sitting next to Xiao Xi keeps saying how he never thought she’d get into Zhejiang University. Jiang Chen finally switches places with him so that Xiao Xi doesn’t have to drink anymore.

At the end of the night, Jing Xiao and Xiao Xi are both totally wasted. Lu Yang tries to herd her home, leaving behind Jiang Chen, Xiao Xi, and Bo Song. Bo Song asks Xiao Xi if she can still stand. She stares at him for a moment, then smacks him on the head calling him “bastard Jiang Chen.” Jiang Chen takes that as a sign that it’s time to go home. Bo Song insists on going with them, but Jiang Chen reminds Bo Song that he has a competition. Bo Song agrees and leaves.

Jiang Chen asks Xiao Xi if she can stand. She does. She says she can walk home, so he takes her hand and they walk home. When they get back, Jiang Chen asks her if she’ll remember what happened tonight. She doesn’t know. “If you remember, call me tomorrow,” he says. Then he leans in and kisses her. When he pulls back, she yawns, and then smiles.

I actually really enjoyed this episode. Time flew by, and I really liked the montage of vignettes that showed us snippets of time passing and characters growing and there was a visible growth in Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi’s relationship. Our characters are more mature, and Jiang Chen’s pseudo-cold treatment of Xiao Xi is clearly affectionate. (Won’t lie… have literally had my boyfriend do that hand to the forehead thing to me when I’ve tried to hug him. :() There wasn’t any real conflict, but instead our characters just faced challenges and forged past them. It was very pleasant, but not bland!

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