Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: Someday or One Day (Ep. 1)

I’ve heard a ton of good things about Someday or One Day (想見你) so I’ve been super excited to watch it. It’s also a short 13 episodes, so not too much commitment, and I am already hooked.

Prologue

A female student (Alice Ke) listens to “Last Dance” by Wu Bai & China Blue in a record shop. In a voice over, she says how “you” always talked about how listening to this song brings back memories from the past while we see a montage of various happy moments in a young couple’s life (Alice Ke & Greg Hsu). Maybe one day they’ll be able to go to that concert they plan on going to. The couple attends a Wu Bai & China Blue concert, but all of a sudden, the music warps and the scene glitches and the girl is all alone in an empty room.

The girl, now a young woman, wakes up to the sound of hammering. She goes to her living room, where she sees Wang Quan Sheng (Greg Hsu) boarding up the windows with chains on the inside, locking her in. She asks him not to leave, but he turns and disappears.

The woman wakes up again, for real this time, and takes a deep breath before going into her living room. The windows are empty. She goes outside and sighs at the empty balcony — no Quan Sheng in sight.

Present Day

Huang Yu Xuan (Alice Ke) is a PM at a tech company. She mediates a meeting in which her coworker Ah Tuo (Zhang Guang Chen) pitches a new app with the long-winded name of “Find your lookalike from anywhere in the world”. The app is intended to help you find your doppelganger by scouring social media and using AI to identify your lookalike. The demo is laughably bad, but Yu Xuan recognizes that the concept could be useful to the company and encourages Ah Tuo to work on it.

After the meeting, Yu Xuan spots a Facebook video auto-playing on her friend and coworker Kun Bu’s (Wen Yi Guo) screen. A young Wang Quan Sheng yells, “Huang Yu Xuan, I love you!” In her scramble to stop the video, Kun Bu accidentally full-screens it. Yu Xuan ends up unplugging the whole computer to shut the video off. She takes a few deep breaths to compose herself, then walks away. Her coworkers try to act like they weren’t watching the whole thing.

While she’s in a meeting with a client, her coworkers gossip about her reaction. Ah Tuo thinks she overreacted — it’s just a video. Besides, it’s pretty obvious she’s not still mourning Quan Sheng, otherwise her Instagram feed would be a little more morose. But Kun Bu quickly gives a detailed analysis of Yu Xuan’s social media activity, explaining how it actually shows that she is still very much hung up over Quan Sheng. She’ll take a photo of herself smiling on the bus, but it’s important to note that the bus route she takes is the long way from her home to the office, because it’s the bus route she and Quan Sheng used to take when they were in college. She might take a photo of herself eating lunch, but notice that she’s always eating lunch alone outside and on her phone, because she’s secretly hoping to get another phone call from Quan Sheng like she used to get from him at lunchtime. She’ll always linger at the boba shop downstairs after work, hoping he’ll come by, and always eats at the restaurants they used to go to.

Kun Bu tells the other coworkers to not gossip about it. Yu Xuan would be mad if she knew that they were talking about her and Quan Sheng. But it’s too late, Yu Xuan was already out of her meeting and heard the tail end of it. She walks by and slams her folders down on Kun Bu’s desk with a glare, then silently walks off.

A man browses Yu Xuan’s social media. He closes the laptop, his left hand prominently wearing a wedding ring, then takes off his glasses and sniffles. It’s Wang Quan Sheng. On his temple is a scar.

Ah Tuo and Kun Bu hear someone crying in the ladies’ room. Ah Tuo is worried that it’s Yu Xuan, but Kun Bu says she’s never heard Yu Xuan cry and she’s known her for years. They bicker over who should go check, but then Yu Xuan appears. They try to tell her it’s okay to cry, which makes her confused. It turns out that the person crying is actually another coworker of theirs, Xiao Dai, who lost her dog, Blues.

Ah Tuo, Kun Bu, and Yu Xuan try to help Xiao Dai out with finding her dog. Kun Bu takes them to see Sunny (cameo by Joanne Tseng), a self-proclaimed animal psychic who claims she can help them find Blues once she “links” with him. She’s fast-talking and loves to throw in the occasional English word. After “linking” with Blues, Sunny suddenly gasps. Xiao Dai asks her what she sees, and she responds, “Jesus!” but without further context.

Yu Xuan is skeptical from the start and tries to reveal Sunny as a scammer by presenting her own “lost dog” story. She shows a photo of her with a dog, saying that his name is “Xiao Wang.” The photo is from a happy memory with Quan Sheng. Instead of asking about the dog, Sunny asks about the person who took the photo, saying that this person must be very important to Yu Xuan. She suddenly starts crying, saying that her dog is waiting for her to find him and loves her very much. Yu Xuan rolls her eyes and asks more specific questions about how to find her “dog.” Sunny asks her other stuffed animals, then spots a delivery person through the window wearing a jersey with the number 32. She tells Yu Xuan the number 32 will be very important. As long as she pays attention to it, she’ll be able to find what she’s lost. Yu Xuan immediately calls her out as a scammer, saying she doesn’t even have a dog. Sunny is offended, but agrees to give them a discount on their consultation.

The four coworkers continue to search for Blues. Yu Xuan finds a sobbing Xiao Dai and tries to comfort her. She encourages her to keep looking for Blues and not give up. It might be painful, but at least the pain will be from the fact that he’s gone, not the memory of how she lost him in the first place. Though she’s talking about the dog, it’s pretty clear that Yu Xuan is also talking about herself and Quan Sheng.

But just as the words are out of Yu Xuan’s mouth, Ah Tuo finds Blues. Yu Xuan is surprised to see a faded poster of Jesus right by where Blues is hiding.

Yu Xuan is walking home when she walks by a bus stop along the 32 line. She remembers Sunny’s words about 32 being important, then hops on the bus, but then laughs at herself for believing in the psychic and taking this bus in the wrong direction away from her home. She’s about to get off at the next stop when she suddenly sees a man with glasses and a cane walk by. It’s Wang Quan Sheng. She runs after him, but can’t find him.

When she gets home, she texts Quan Sheng’s number, saying she knows that the person she saw earlier was him. She tells him to show himself on the count of three, or else she won’t forgive him. She texts a countdown, and looks around hopefully for him, but no one shows. Instead of texting “three,” she writes, “I miss you, I really miss you.”

The student version of Yu Xuan listens intently to Wu Bai & China Blue’s “Last Dance” while working at the 32 Records Shop. She doesn’t even notice two boys (Greg Hsu & Patrick Shih) come in. The outgoing one asks her what song she’s listening to and whether he can buy it. She points without making eye contact. When it’s not in stock, she offers to take down his name and number so she can let him know when it comes back in stock. He tries to get his friend to put his number down, clearly trying to play wingman, but the friend is too shy, so he writes down his own name and number. He tells her that she must remember to call him when the record is restocked, then leaves her with a charming smile. His friend gives her a lingering look through the door.

The girl lets out a sigh and relaxes once the boys are gone. The song stops playing so she replays it, then considers the notepad with the boy’s name and number and remembers his smile with a small smile of her own.

Yu Xuan wakes up in the morning with tears in her eyes. She texts Quan Sheng saying she dreamed of him again.

She’s getting coffee when a news report on the television draws her attention. That morning, there was an airline incident with Aoxiang Airlines. It’s the second airline incident in as many years: two years ago, flight 332 disappeared en route to Shanghai, killing everyone on board. To this day, they are still searching for the remains of the passengers.

Yu Xuan is about to go in for a client meeting when Kun Bu calls her, asking if Yu Xuan has forgotten her own birthday. Kun Bu refuses to let Yu Xuan spend another birthday alone and tells her to show up that night at the karaoke party already planned for her.

One her way up the elevator to her meeting, Yu Xuan is reminded of all her past birthdays with Quan Sheng. He always tried to do something to surprise her, but the cake was always the same. He had promised to spend every birthday with her, but where was he last year? This year, for her birthday, will he…?

The elevator doors open and then start closing. Yu Xuan looks up to see Quan Sheng walking past with a cane and a brown bag, looking lost. She hurries out the elevator, but he’s nowhere in sight and she runs into her client instead. When they get to the front desk of her client’s office, there’s a brown bag waiting for her.

Yu Xuan opens the bag when she gets back to her own office. Inside is a cake, the same fruit cake that Quan Sheng got her every year for her birthday.

She suddenly gets a call from Quan Sheng’s mother, who says that she’s planning on holding a funeral for Quan Sheng. It’s already been two years, and life must go on.

Yu Xuan goes to her own birthday party, drinking and singing in a way that makes Ah Tuo comment to Kun Bu that she’s acting weird. Her friends bring out her birthday cake and tell her to make her three wishes. Xiao Dai reminds her to keep her third wish a secret, which brings back Yu Xuan’s memory of Quan Sheng saying the same thing for her 23rd birthday. At that time, Yu Xuan had asked why the tradition was to keep the third wish a secret. Quan Sheng thought that it was because the third wish is the one you wish for the most, yet know is the least likely to happen; by keeping it a secret, you spare yourself some pain in case it doesn’t come true.

With that in mind, Yu Xuan closes her eyes and silently wishes that Quan Sheng will show up in front of her when she opens them. But he’s not there, and she has to quickly wipe away a few stray tears.

Later, Yu Xuan is slightly drunk and finds herself scrolling down Quan Sheng’s Facebook feed and watching old videos and photos he posted of the two of them. They bring back old memories, often ones where she would be angry with him for teasing her, but he never let the smile slip from his face even when she was angry. She notices that someone named “Vicky” has liked all the photos, and has a flashback of Quan Sheng getting a call from Vicky and leaving the room to answer. Suddenly suspicious that Quan Sheng was cheating on her, she starts calling everyone she knows, including a different friend named Vicky, asking if any of them know who Vicky is, despite the fact that it’s the middle of the night.

She finally settles for calling Quan Sheng’s best friend, Chen Cai Yu, who asks why she’s wondering about something like this in the middle of the night two years later. Yu Xuan admits that knowing Quan Sheng cheated on her might make it easier to love him a little less, so she wouldn’t hurt so much now.

The next day, Cai Yu arranges for her to meet with Vicky. Yu Xuan finds out that Vicky works for a proposal agency and that’s why Quan Sheng was talking to her. Two years ago, Yu Xuan was transferred to Shanghai, but she didn’t want Quan Sheng to follow her and wanted to break up with him instead. His startup had just started gaining some traction and she was worried that he would regret moving and resent her if he had to relocate to Shanghai and start all over just for her. He kept trying to convince her that she should let him choose what he wanted to do, saying that he never had any regrets about them and his only regret would be letting her go.

The day Yu Xuan was leaving for Shanghai, Quan Sheng wanted to propose. He had an elaborate plan involving faking a car breakdown while driving her to the airport, and hiring a fake police officer to give them a ticket that would actually be a marriage certificate. But Yu Xuan thwarted those plans by insisting on taking a cab to the airport and not listening when he tried to get her to stay.

After the meeting, Yu Xuan’s car breaks down on the highway and the irony of the situation doesn’t escape her. While she waits for roadside assistance, she decides to tear apart the car, remembering Quan Sheng’s proposal plan. Sure enough, she finds an engagement ring still in the spare tire compartment in the trunk.

Yu Xuan is waiting for her car to be repaired at a service shop when Ah Tuo sends her an updated version of his lookalike finder app. She tries looking up Wang Quan Sheng’s name, and sure enough, a photo pops up with a young Quan Sheng. She is also in the photo, but she doesn’t recognize the third person, nor does she remember having taken the photo. If these two people aren’t her and Quan Sheng, then who are they? The car mechanic suddenly starts playing “Last Dance” in the repair shop.

Flash to our high school students: the girl reads the boy’s name, Li Zi Wei, and smiles. Zi Wei suddenly pops back into the shop, asking her what her name is. She mumbles back, “Chen Yun Ru.”

This show is already making me cry! It’s only the first episode, so I barely know who these characters are, but I already feel the hope, sadness, and nostalgia that Yu Xuan feels for Quan Sheng. Though there is a bit of a fantasy element that we don’t quite see yet, the show and the emotions also feel so down-to-earth, raw, and real.

This first episode did such a great job of establishing who Yu Xuan is as well as the complicated feelings she has for Quan Sheng. She carries a mix of guilt, grief, and hope. I laughed and cried and my heart ached when she tried so desperately to prove that Quan Sheng was cheating on her, only to find out that he had been planning a proposal that she ruined with her own stubbornness.

The flashbacks are succinct but are so effective in showing the relationship and chemistry between Yu Xuan and Quan Sheng, and I really like how there’s a blurred line between the real and the imaginary. Sometimes Yu Xuan disappears into her memories and they feel so real, and then it’s difficult to tell how much her glimpses of Quan Sheng are real or just a figment of her hopeful imagination.

One of the big mysteries from this first episode is what Quan Sheng is up to right now! There are a lot of clues pointing to him actually being alive, but why is he ghosting Yu Xuan? He was browsing her Instagram and remembered her birthday, so there’s no active amnesia, but he was wearing a wedding ring… is that a sign of his commitment to Yu Xuan, or is he already married? Perhaps he had amnesia after the accident and got married and is now stuck in his marriage? That would be the cliche melodrama route to go.

I’ve never watched any of Alice Ke’s dramas before, but I’m getting a lot of mature Ariel Lin vibes (think Ariel Lin from In Time With You) and I love it! I’m impressed by how she convincingly passes as both a 27-year-old professional and a 17-year-old high school student. Often with these shows that span the high school to young adult phase, I find that the actors tend to look on the younger side and end up looking like children trying to dress up as adults when they portray the older version of the character. (Or the opposite is true, where the actors look like adults pretending they’re kids.) But something about the makeup and body language here is convincingly both ages! Also Greg Hsu is pretty cute.

I don’t know if I’ll be recapping this whole series in such detail because these episodes are long, but I also am loath to leave out any detail. I’m so excited for the next episode!

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