Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: Amensalism (Ep. 4)

You Kuan and Ke Wei race to save the next subject of his dreams, but both are forced to think about whether their approach to helping and saving people is the right thing to do. Are they doing more harm or more good? While they play hero, a couple of villains start to make themselves known.

Recap

You Kuan picks up Liu Xiao Fang the morning of her wedding. Xiao Fang’s bridesmaid isn’t feeling well, so she’s asked Ke Wei to stand in for her.

You Kuan looks up to see Ke Wei leaving the house in a bridesmaid dress, looking stunning. He stares, entranced.

Xiao Fang asks You Kuan if he thinks Ke Wei looks pretty. He freezes, then mutters a yes.

You Kuan drops Ke Wei and Xiao Fang off at the hotel where her wedding is to take place. Once he has driven away and Ke Wei and Xiao Fang have gone inside, Fang Jing An enters the building.

One of the caterers for the wedding makes a fuss that some of the pastries are missing. You Kuan wants to go downstairs to check on it, but Ke Wei goes instead, telling him that he should stay with Xiao Fang outside her room.

But when Ke Wei goes downstairs, she finds that nothing is missing. The security guard she speaks with apologizes for the inconvenience, saying that the person who was there earlier had been making a fuss about it. Ke Wei is suddenly suspicious and guesses that it was Fang Jing An.

Li Yao Qing shows up at the hotel. Security is pretty tight and You Kuan is more than happy to frisk him, since he wasn’t on the guest list. You Kuan doesn’t seem happy to see him, and Yao Qing seems to feel the same way. He’s only there because Ke Wei insisted he help You Kuan protect Liu Xiao Fang, and he doesn’t trust You Kuan to be able to guarantee Ke Wei’s safety.

They suddenly hear a scream from inside Xiao Fang’s room. They rush in only to find that her makeup artist had accidentally spilled some water. But the incident reminds You Kuan of some images from his dream that don’t make sense, and he frowns.

Lin Chun Xiong calls You Kuan to report that he’s found the gloves. Fang Jing An found a homeless woman trying to take them out of the recycling bin, then beat her up before grabbing the gloves and running away.

Yao Qing asks You Kuan why Ke Wei isn’t with Xiao Fang. You Kuan connects the dots, realizing that Fang must be near and takes off running. He calls Ke Wei, telling her to be careful, but she’s already on Fang’s tail. But little does she know that Fang is right behind her… he grabs her from behind, putting a hand over her mouth to muffle her screams. She drops her phone in the scuffle.

You Kuan and Yao Qing scour the ground floor of the hotel, looking for Ke Wei and Fang Jing An. They finally find her unconscious through a staff door. When she comes to, she realizes that her key card is missing. Fang Jing An must’ve taken it.

Fang sends his father a text, saying that he never knew Xiao Fang’s betrayal ran so deep. He finds Xiao Fang in her room and drags her into an elevator, then up to the roof.

You Kuan, Ke Wei, and Yao Qing run up the stairs toward the roof. You Kuan’s heart suddenly squeezes hard, and he’s unable to keep moving. He tells Ke Wei and Yao Qing to keep going without him. Ke Wei and Yao Qing arrive on the rooftop to find Fang and Xiao Fang struggling near the edge.

When Fang Jing An sees the two new arrivals, he pulls Xiao Fang up onto the ledge.

You Kuan suddenly pieces together the images he saw and realizes that it isn’t Liu who dies — it’s Fang Jing An. He makes it to the rooftop and yells for someone to grab Fang. But it’s too late, Fang throws Xiao Fang at Yao Qing and Ke Wei, then lets himself fall over the edge.

Fang Yan Hua is outside the hotel, looking for his son. He tries calling and can’t get through, then hears a loud thump. People around him start shouting to call an ambulance. He turns slowly and sees his son lying on the pavement. He yells in anguish.

Ke Wei is still in shock from seeing Fang Jing An die right in front of her. Yao Qing remains surprisingly collected and tries to distract her, but they’re interrupted by a commotion from the banquet room. Xiao Fang’s fiance angrily stalks out, followed by an entourage of family members and a pleading Liu Xiao Fang. She tries to tell him that nothing happened with Fang Jing An, but he just angrily throws his boutonniere at her and calls the wedding off.

Ke Wei asks Xiao Fang if she’s okay. Xiao Fang throws her off, glaring, then says that this is all Ke Wei’s fault. She was the one who suggested getting a restraining order, and now he’s dead. She collapses, yelling that her life is ruined.

You Kuan asserts himself, saying that the only person whose life is ruined is Fang Jing An, because his life doesn’t exist anymore. Ke Wei went above and beyond to help Xiao Fang and doesn’t deserve to be blamed. “If you want to blame someone, blame me,” he says. He was the one who misjudged the situation and didn’t save the person who actually needed to be saved.

He makes eye contact with Yao Qing and nods toward Ke Wei. Yao Qing understands his meaning, and gently pulls Ke Wei away from Xiao Fang.

Yao Qing tells Ke Wei that she shouldn’t take Xiao Fang’s words to heart. But this incident makes Ke Wei think about how powerless the law is against human will. She had viewed Xiao Fang as a victim, but in some ways she was also the aggressor. Ke Wei tried to use the law the best way she knew how with the restraining order, but the law couldn’t account for the complexity of human feelings. She never thought Fang Jing An would be harmed like this.

But Yao Qing has a much more clear-cut and simple view of the situation. It seems obvious to him that Xiao Fang dumped Fang Jing An in order to marry someone of a higher social status. Fang was obviously unhappy about it. If they were both rational people, they could’ve resolved the situation in a reasonable way, but as a lawyer, there’s nothing Ke Wei could’ve done with these two irrational people. As lawyers, their job is to know and use the law to the best of their abilities. The nuances and emotions of their clients’ stories don’t matter. Ke Wei finishes Yao Qing’s thought for him. She’s too familiar with his lectures on the roles of lawyers and the law.

Ke Wei admits that she understands what Yao Qing is saying, but she had thought that today would turn out differently. Because of You Kuan? he guesses. At the very least, she didn’t think that anyone would die. Yao Qing angrily tells her that she shouldn’t delude herself into thinking that You Kuan can save anyone.

Ke Wei finds Yao Qing’s strong dislike for You Kuan quite odd. She knows that he usually doesn’t care about strangers, meaning that he and You Kuan are quite familiar. Moreover, he knows about You Kuan’s nightmares. She deduces that Yao Qing has been in this situation before with You Kuan.

She’s on the right track, but Yao Qing clearly doesn’t want to talk about it. He snaps at Ke Wei that You Kuan is cursed. She’ll never find peace around someone who is cursed like him. She watches him walk away, confused by his reaction.

You Kuan calls Ke Wei at night to check on her. He knows how she feels, having experienced that same feeling over and over for the past nineteen years. She understands him a little more as well, now knowing what he has experienced.

You Kuan takes Ke Wei to see someone, an auntie lying in a coma in the hospital. Ke Wei frowns as she sees the woman and watches You Kuan start to clip her nails while chatting. She asks him why he came here.

You Kuan tells Ke Wei that this woman is the person who inspired him to start trying to save the people in his dreams. The woman once lived what appeared to be an envious, carefree life with her professor husband. But her husband was secretly verbally and physically abusive at home.

Ke Wei sits down next to the auntie and puts a gentle hand on top of hers, saying, “Yao Qing never told me about your past before.”

You Kuan stares at her: how does she know that this woman is Yao Qing’s mother?

Instead of responding, Ke Wei asks him what Mama Li has to do with his dreams. How does he know Yao Qing?

You Kuan says that he and Yao Qing were high school classmates. But they were clearly more than just classmates; it looks like they were best friends. They did everything together: skip school, shoplift shoes, play ball. One day, Yao Qing confided in You Kuan that he didn’t like going home because of his father. His father is secretly a psychopath, and Yao Qing promised that he would kill him before his eighteenth birthday.

The day before Yao Qing’s eighteenth birthday, You Kuan tells him that he doesn’t need to kill his father: You Kuan dreamed that Yao Qing’s father would die tonight, on his own. The two wait around anxiously. Yao Qing asks You Kuan how his father dies. You Kuan starts describing the images he saw: his father falling, his body carted out on a white sheet. Seeing how anxious Yao Qing is, he tells him that there’s still time to go home and save his father, but Yao Qing shakes his head.

They hear sirens and rush to Yao Qing’s apartment building, where they see Yao Qing’s father’s corpse being carted out as expected. But there’s also something they didn’t expect: Yao Qing’s mother is unconscious and in critical condition. Yao Qing demands to know exactly what You Kuan dreamed. Why didn’t he tell him that his mother would also be hurt? But You Kuan didn’t see that in his dreams.

Later, they learned what happened. It had been another case of domestic violence. Yao Qing’s father tried to strangle his mother. She managed to get her hands on a knife and stab him in the neck, but even while dying, his father had continued to strangle her until she was unconscious.

You Kuan admits that he hates himself even more than Yao Qing hates him. He blames himself for foolishly believing he could save Yao Qing. After that, he decided that no matter what, he would try to save the people in his dreams.

But his reason for bringing Ke Wei here today is to tell her that he doesn’t want her trying to save people anymore. He doesn’t want her to have anything to do with him anymore. He’s doesn’t want to save people anymore, and they should never meet again.

Ke Wei clenches her fists as she walks behind You Kuan down a sidewalk. She accidentally trips and falls into him, and uses that as an excuse to confront him and ask why he’s decided to stop saving people.

“It’s better this way,” he says, before turning around continuing to walk away. She keeps pace with him, demanding to know what he means by that. He responds that he just thinks it’s better.

She stops him, saying that he clearly doesn’t have any evidence to support his claim. She’s even less convinced now that she knows his connection to Mama Li. She holds out her palm and asks for evidence.

He holds out his own palm, then places it on top of hers, saying that some people say one’s life line represents the length of one’s life. But for a certain someone, their life line bears the weight of two lives. He doesn’t want to save lives anymore because he’s found that for every life he saves, someone else’s gets ruined. His happiness will only cause someone else’s unhappiness. “What If I said that person is you?” he asks. “Would you still say I need to save people?”

They’re silent on the car ride home. You Kuan glances at Ke Wei when they’re stopped at a red light, but she studiously looks out the window. When the light turns green, they almost crash into a car running the red light.

You Kuan immediately checks to see if Ke Wei is okay, knowing her trauma with car accidents. She breathes heavily, then slowly says that they almost just died. You Kuan vehemently responds that she won’t die. He won’t let her die.

Fang Yan Hua grieves over Fang Jing An’s corpse in the morgue. But his grief soon turns into spite. He remembers a night many years ago when a car with the license plate AX-8217 drove into his scrapyard. Now, he makes a call to Chairman Xu.

He asks Xu if he’s done what he asked. Xu responds that he’s done some investigation into Liu’s company, but hasn’t found anything yet. Fang laughs sardonically, then yells at Xu, saying he doesn’t care what he does, he wants to see them ruined and dead. Xu calmly responds that he has his own way of doing things, but Fang Yan Hua isn’t having any of it. He yells that his son is dead because of Xu was unable to do what he agreed to. Now Fang realizes that the car wasn’t important to Xu. He’ll show Xu what’s important.

Fang Yan Hua hangs up on Xu, then vows to his dead son that his death won’t be meaningless. He will find someone to accompany him.

You Kuan drops off Ke Wei at her house. She’s about to go inside, but then turns around tells You Kuan that she thinks he’s been scared this whole time. He was scared of letting people die, but once he started saving people and realizing that others could get hurt instead, he started getting scared of that too. She finally understands why Yao Qing called You Kuan’s ability a curse. And she realizes that You Kuan also believes it’s a curse. He is trapped by fear.

But You Kuan also once told her that bad things will always happen in the world. If bad things will happen regardless of what he does, then what is he afraid of? You Kuan responds that it’s not an accident or coincidence that saving one person harms another: it’s a fact.

“But you can let some accidents happen. Happy accidents,” she says. When they saved Wang from Zhang Zhi Zhong, that was an unexpected accident — a happy one. But did it still count as a happy accident when she got hurt?

Ke Wei says that as long as he keeps trying to save people, maybe one day some unexpected good will happen to the people who initially got hurt. But if he does nothing, then he’ll always be trapped by his fear.

Do happy accidents really happen in this world? he asks. She doesn’t know, but she says that she’ll stay by his side, just like how he said he would stay with her and help her be brave for 30 seconds.

She holds out her hand for a high five. He stares at her open palm for a long moment, then reluctantly holds up his own hand. She happily high fives it several times. On the last time, he catches her hand, holding it in his own.

“What happy accident would you wish for?” he asks.

We flash back to Ke Wei’s memories of her childhood car accident. The last thing she saw before she passed out was a second car at the scene. The license plate number? AX-8217.

You Kuan studies some maps and writes down the license plate number, thinking to himself that if there’s nothing else he can do to reverse the harm he’s done her, the least he could do is make this happy accident happen for her before he leaves her.

Ming Fei works late and goes outside to stretch her legs. The surrounding area is empty, except for Fang Yan Hua, who has been hiding and waiting for her. He starts to approach her, but then Ace suddenly shows up with some midnight snacks and zeroes in on Fang. Fang quickly turns around walks away.

Ming Fei forces You Kuan’s security team (minus him) to listen to her practice a pitch for an important board meeting the next day. Lin Chun Xiong is the only one who dares criticize her, but she quickly bullies him into obeisance, then tells the team that she’s done working and it’s time to party.

Ming Fei gets sloppy drunk and starts pushing around the security team, then says that she’s going to give You Kuan a pay cut. It takes all three of them to physically carry her away. In the shuffle, her bracelet falls off and onto the ground.

Once they’ve gone some distance, a pair of red heels step into view. The wearer bends down and picks up the bracelet.

You Kuan puzzles over his own investigation into the car involved in Ke Wei’s accident. His search led him to a crotchety old man who told him that the car doesn’t exist and was tired of so many people always snooping around and asking about it. You Kuan guesses that at least one of the investigators was Ke Wei, but what about the others? He tells Lin Chun Xiong to look up which other people have looked up the license plate number.

You Kuan’s team can’t keep up with Ming Fei and complain to him about how exhausting she is. She has them doing tasks more fit for an assistant, such as picking up her dry cleaning. He ends up taking her dry cleaning to her. She immediately notes that the outfit she’s looking for is missing from among the clothes, and the other outfits don’t quite carry the statement she’s going for. She declares that she’ll have to go shopping.

Ke Wei interviews for a position as a corporate lawyer at Dong Di Group and is surprised to find that Yao Qing is her interviewer. But he’s only there to reject her. She’s angry because earlier, when she was fired, he had reassured her that she could come work for him at Dong Di. Now, he’s reversing course, and she knows it’s because of You Kuan.

He sees her out. While they wait for the elevator, Ke Wei tells Yao Qing that she knows what happened between him and You Kuan. She guesses that the person Yao Qing hates isn’t actually You Kuan. He’s just using You Kuan as an emotional scapegoat because he doesn’t want to admit that he was unable to protect his mother from his father. She tells him that he needs to forgive himself and You Kuan. It’s clear that she’s struck a chord, because his eyes water slightly.

But when he turns to her, he just icily says, “What about you? Have you forgiven yourself?”

They’re interrupted by the arrival of the elevator. The doors open and You Kuan and Ming Fei step out. Ming Fei makes eye contact with Ke Wei and they seem to recognize each other.

“Bi Ke Wei?” Ming Fei asks with a smile. You Kuan stares at her, shocked that she knows who Ke Wei is.

This episode answers some questions, but also raises a lot more.

Quick hits:

  • It all makes sense now why Chairman Xu matters. He caused the car accident.
  • I’m assuming Ming Fei recognizes Ke Wei because of You Kuan, and potentially because of her job application at the company, and has done her research. But why does it seem like Ke Wei knows Ming Fei from somewhere?
  • Who is this mysterious person with the red heels who picked up Ming Fei’s bracelet? Is she also the person who stole Ming Fei’s missing outfit? A mother?
  • I’m really glad that we finally learned the full history between You Kuan and Yao Qing. It makes so much sense now why Yao Qing seems to hate You Kuan so much.
  • I can’t tell if these product placements are intentionally trying to be funny, because they aren’t actually funny, but they’re so blatant it’s hilarious in a sad way, or if they’re just a contractual obligation…

I thought Ke Wei and You Kuan’s conversation about “good accidents” to be a crucial moment in defining their characters’ philosophies. You Kuan believes that there is a black and white quid pro quo in the world. He thinks that the deaths he dreams of are inevitable, that he can’t save a person without hurting another, that he is the cause of Ke Wei’s suffering. His belief in the inevitability of fate makes him feel powerless to do anything.

But Ke Wei seems to think that these are all accidents or coincidences. Which happen, but aren’t the product of some necessity for balance in the world. Ke Wei epitomizes the belief of “when there’s a will, there’s a way.” She almost seems to have certainty in uncertainty, a contradiction that makes her perfectly complement Ke Wei.

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