Chinese Dramas, Drama Recaps

Recap: A Love So Beautiful (Ep. 18)

The first day of university dawns. Xiao Xi gets inspired by her roommates to go do something Jiang Chen; she goes over to his room and cleans his bed frame for him.

Xiao Xi attends Jiang Chen’s department welcome party. She shies away from answering when a classmate asks what major she is. The table gets bored and starts playing truth or dare. The only girl in the class gets asked whether she has a boyfriend or someone she likes. She looks at Jiang Chen, and everyone starts teasing that she likes her.

Jiang Chen asks Xiao Xi to save him. She feigns a stomachache, and Jiang Chen uses that as an excuse to take his girlfriend to the hospital. It’s the first time he’s called her his girlfriend, and she freaks out and dashes off to wake Jing Xiao up in the middle of the night and give a thank you speech for supporting her until she got to this point.

Jing Xiao is studying in the library when Lu Yang creeps in and watches her silently. A second boy is also watching her from the stacks, and shyly gives her his number, asking if he can get to know her better. Lu Yang immediately yells at him and Jing Xiao apologizes on his behalf, saying her boyfriends gets jealous easily. He runs off.

Lu Yang looks through Jing Xiao’s textbook while she’s studying and finds tons of paper slips from multiple male classmates, all containing contact info and cheesy pickup lines. He pouts. Jing Xiao tries to cheer him up by kissing him on the cheek when she makes sure that no one is looking. Cute!

Xiao Xi mutters to herself about whether she should call Jiang Chen while her roommates are all putting their faces on. She finally decides to call when Jiang Chen calls her, and they schedule a date for dinner.

The two are taking a stroll when Xiao Xi hints he should hold her hand by asking, “Have you heard this song?” and starts singing “Qian Shou” (“Holding Hands”), a classic. He holds her hand. She asks if they should try interlocking fingers. He says no, but does it anyway.

At dinner, when Jiang Chen finds out that Xiao Xi doesn’t have any plans that night, he says, “Spend the night with me.” She’s so shocked that she accidentally spits out some food and embarrasses herself. She starts crying that they should break up now. He sits next to her and puts his arm around her to comfort her, saying he just wants some company while he studies. What did she think he meant?

Xiao Xi is painfully naive and excitedly tells Jing Xiao that she and Jiang Chen hugged. She thinks they’re moving fast, but Jing Xiao quickly disabuses her of that notion. She thinks they’re moving at a snail’s pace.

Jing Xiao dresses Xiao Xi up for a date, but Xiao Xi feels awkward in her dress and high heels. They make small talk about how his roommates stole a lamb leg from the lab to eat it, and ended up sleeping for two days because it had been injected with an anesthetic… Then he asks if she’s wearing perfume. She makes some excuses about hua lu shui (“floral water” commonly used as a mosquito bite soother & mosquito repellent) and starts inching away.

He tells her to come over so he can kiss her. LOL. She closes her eyes and lets him kiss her. They’re both so awkward.

She asks him why he wanted to kiss her. Is it because of the dress she’s wearing? Or the scent of the hua lu shui? Or the bugs? But he seemingly hasn’t noticed her efforts on her appearance, because he says that the dress makes her calves look thick and she smells like chemicals. He must be a robot, because he claims to have wanted to see if the texture of her lips were any different than normal skin. Oooookay.

Fast forward to December 2009. Xiao Xi keeps Jiang Chen company while he studies, but she gets bored. He gives her a book to read instead, and flips the pages for her when she struggles with her mittened hands. A student photographer sees them and snaps a few pics.

Later, she tells Xiao Xi that she wants to use their photo for a couple’s photo contest and lets her retouch her photo with Jiang Chen. When Jiang Chen sees their photo posted on the campus bulletin, he gets annoyed with her, but she promises that she’ll make sure they win. LOL.

Fast forward to May 2012. Xiao Xi, Jiang Chen, Lu Yang, and Jing Xiao hang out together on a double date. Both Jiang Chen and Jing Xiao read while Lu Yang and Xiao Xi mess around in boredom. Lu Yang suddenly rips the tab off a soda and asks Jing Xiao to marry him with it as a ring. He jokes about it, but he’s also serious, and it just makes Jing Xiao upset. She runs off and Xiao Xi follows. Jiang Chen knows that this is just Lu Yang’s tactic for pushing Jing Xiao away because he plans on getting heart surgery soon.

Lu Yang hides the surgery from Jing Xiao, but Jiang Chen decides to tell Xiao Xi because he feels like Jing Xiao should know.

Jing Xiao visits Lu Yang in the hospital. He murmurs that he should’ve known better than to trust Jiang Chen and Xiao Xi, but doesn’t push her away. They watch the swimming world championships, where Bo Song’s gold medal-winning performances and post-race interviews are airing. Bo Song has some messages for his friends during the interview, though he doesn’t mention them by name. He tells Xiao Xi that he now has a gold medal to replace the silver one he gave her, and tells Lu Yang that he’ll be fine.

All four of the friends are there to see Lu Yang into the operation room before his surgery. At the last moment, before the doors close, Jing Xiao shows him the soda drink tab on her finger like a ring.

A month later, Jing Xiao stands by an empty hospital bed, looking unhappy… but Lu Yang is fine and walks up behind her. She was only upset because she knew he was hiding a bunch of snacks and games he wasn’t supposed to have.

Xiao Xi and Jiang Chen get a meal and Xiao Xi tells Jiang Chen that she got a summer job so she can stay on campus and keep him company during his internship. But he doesn’t want her to take the job. He tells her that he’ll give her money if she needs money. But Xiao Xi wants to earn her own money, and he finally settles for telling her to do whatever she wants.

She ends up being handing out flyers on the street to try to get customers to visit her friend’s restaurant. Since just handing flyers out isn’t working, the owner ends up putting her in a mascot uniform. A couple of girls think the mascot is cute and ask to take a photo with her. While they pose, they gossip about Jiang Chen, how cute he is, and how he’s too good for his girlfriend. She crosses her arm and pouts.

Jiang Chen comes over and says that her mascot uniform is cut. She starts crying, so he hugs her and buys her some boba, letting her rest while he hands out flyers for her instead. He has a lot more success than her, but the people coming by are all women. Jealous, Xiao Xi says that maybe he should put on the mascot uniform.

August 2012: Jiang Chen is about to return to their hometown. Xiao Xi plans to meet Jiang Chen outside their building when he gets back. She accidentally dozes off and is late to meet him, but he’s still there, waiting for her. He has a gift: a (drawing) tablet. He tells her to go upstairs and starts heading back to his own building. She gives him a look and starts heading up. He thinks about it for a moment, then hurries to rush up the stairs after her. They stare at each other for a moment, then she quickly pecks him on the lips and scurries up the stairs. (But more like she just bumped his face with her face.) He touches his lips and smiles. Cute!

Epilogue: Jiang Chen walks Xiao Xi back to her dorm. She says goodbye and starts walking up the stairs. He trails her and then suddenly yells, “Boo!” at her. She screams and drops her snack. He tells her that he’s angry, but with a smile and heads out. She frowns at how her snack is now ruined.

More time flying by! Honestly I wouldn’t have minded if we spent a little more time on these college years, rather than speeding through them in the span of two or three episodes. In retrospect, I understand the idea behind spending so much time on the formative high school years, but that doesn’t change my opinion on the execution. What makes these few episodes much more palatable to me is that 1) we don’t get weird, childish drama antics, and 2) Jiang Chen acts slightly less like a robot and is actually considerate toward her.

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