Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: Amensalism (Ep. 6)

Ke Wei wakes up in You Kuan’s bed, confused. She spots her shoes neatly placed on the ground and smiles. Downstairs, You Kuan has breakfast and chocolate milk waiting for her. She winces at the memories she has from the night before and apologizes to You Kuan for losing control of herself.

He remembers the almost-kiss from last night and says that he was the one who lost control. She’s confused, but he changes the subject to the matter of Ming Fei’s false tabloid story.

It seems like there really is someone out there pretending to be Ming Fei. Sam’s phone had a photo of her. It was dark and blurry, the person in it looked undeniably like Ming Fei.

They wonder if it’s really possible for someone to look like Ming Fei using makeup. We watch the fake Ming Fei apply makeup to cover a scar along her jawline. She looks at herself in the mirror and smiles.

Fake Ming Fei writes a letter to the real Ming Fei while sitting in a hospital bed with her face wrapped up. She says that she wants Ming Fei. She wants to be one with her.

Post-surgery fake Ming Fei follows the real one and picks up her dropped bracelet. Then she asks the concierge at Ming Fei’s hotel apartment for a new room key, which she uses to obsessively explore Ming Fei’s apartment. She smells her clothes, uses her makeup, and schedules dates on hookup apps, all using Ming Fei’s identity.

She’s on her way to one such date when Fang Yan Hua grabs her, thinking she’s the real Xu Ming Fei. But he lets go of her and watches her warily when she starts laughing crazily after he calls her Ming Fei. She runs up to him, still giggling, and says, “I do look like Ming Fei, right? You can call me Fei Fei.”

Fake Ming Fei shows Fang Yan Hua into Ming Fei’s apartment. Isn’t it great? she asks. Ming Fei’s style is exactly what she imagined it to be. In fact, it’s even better.

Fang tries to piece together her story. She got plastic surgery to look like Ming Fei because she idolizes her? So she’s trying to be a fake Ming Fei?

But Fake Ming Fei frowns. She’s not fake! She has become one with Ming Fei.

Fang points out that there are two of her, so she’ll always look like the fake one and just seem crazy in the eyes of the public. Fake Ming Fei exclaims that she’s not crazy. She’s studied Ming Fei carefully. She knows all the people around her and likes the same things as her. They even have the same style.

Fang says that as long as two Ming Feis exist, she will always be a fake one. Fake Ming Fei smiles and says that the last one standing is the real Ming Fei. One day she will become the real Fei Fei. Then she quickly corrects herself: she’ll become her herself.

Fang smiles and asks if she wants to work with him. He can make “one day” turn into today.

That night, fake Ming Fei abducts the real one.

The next morning, You Kuan picks up Ming Fei from the lobby of her building. He immediately notices that she’s acting strangely. She calls him “Ah Kuan” and her voice sounds different. He asks her why she’s behaving strangely and she claims that she has a cold.

When they arrive at the Dong Di Group office building, they spot several reporters gathered outside. You Kuan wants to drive into the parking garage, but Ming Fei says that she’ll get out here.

She steps out before anyone can stop her and waves to the reporters, smiling at the attention, as they crowd around her. Ke Wei rushes after her and tries to shield her from the reporters’ questions.

Once they get into the safety of the office building, Ke Wei tries to talk to Ming Fei, but she shushes her. She spins around in the lobby, soaking in the feeling of being there and touching her face, then turns toward the reporters outside and waves.

Ke Wei follows Ming Fei into her office and tries to warn her against riling up the reporters like that. But Ming Fei isn’t really listening, not until Ke Wei reports that they suspect someone is dressing up like her and pretending to be her. Until they catch the criminal, Ming Fei should try to keep a low profile.

Ming Fei’s hackles rise, saying that dressing up as her should be viewed as a form of idolatry and seen as something positive. It’s not a crime. But Ke Wei says that in this case, the person’s behavior is deviant and suggests that she might be a psychopath.

Ke Wei senses that something is off with Ming Fei, especially when she asks her secretary to schedule a special meeting with her father.

After Ming Fei dismisses her, she calls You Kuan with her suspicion that this Ming Fei is a fake one. You Kuan says he noticed the same thing and that he suspected something like this would happen. Earlier, Chairman Xu had warned You Kuan that someone was threatening him with Ming Fei’s safety. As a precaution, You Kuan had Xiao Mi install a spyware on Ming Fei’s phone. Only a few days ago, Ming Fei’s outfit disappeared and she received a obsessive stalker letter from a fan, saying she wanted to “become one” with her. Most importantly, that morning, Ming Fei let him carry her purse, something she never does.

Chun Xiong found out from the spyware installed on Ming Fei’s phone that she had been kidnapped by Fang Yan Hua, Fang Jing An’s father. They’re not sure how Fang is connected to Ming Fei or Chairman Xu, but the important thing right now is to find her. You Kuan is on his way to her phone’s last known location. He warns Ke Wei to keep her distance from the fake Ming Fei, saying she should leave if she can. Xiao Mi and Ace have already alerted Li Yao Qing to the situation.

But Ke Wei remembers that fake Ming Fei scheduled a meeting with Chairman Xu. If he really has been threatened, then the meeting might be a trap. She rushes to the boardroom to find Xu and warn him, but it’s too late. Fake Ming Fei arrives and locks them in.

Yao Qing arrives at the office, just a few seconds too late to stop fake Ming Fei from locking herself in the boardroom with Xu and Ke Wei. He, Ace, and Xiao Mi rush to the security office where they monitor the situation via security camera.

Fake Ming Fei wraps her arms around Chairman Xu’s shoulders and affectionately calls him “Dad,” but he throws her off, saying she’s not his daughter. Ming Fei would never talk to him in a voice like that, and she would never wear her bracelet on her left wrist.

Fake Ming Fei rips her wrist out of his grip and admits that she isn’t his daughter. But very soon, she will be the only person who wears this face.

She rolls down the room’s projector screen and turns on the projector to reveal a live video of an unconscious Ming Fei, bound to a car seat. The video flips to reveal the cameraman: Fang Yan Hua. He’s at his scrapyard, where he shows a car being crushed and tells Xu that the car with his daughter in it will be next.

Xu demands to know what Fang wants. Is it money? He’ll give him money. But Fang responds that his son is dead; why would he need money? No, what he wants his Xu’s life or the life of his daughter. He can choose.

Ke Wei tries to buy some time by asking for proof that Ming Fei is still alive. Fang gives them proof by climbing into his excavator and using it to pick up the car that Ming Fei is in, which wakes her up.

Thankfully, he doesn’t crush her yet. He climbs back out to video himself with Ming Fei so he can continue to rage at Xu. He wants Xu to feel the pain of losing a child and blames him for his son’s death. Ke Wei tries to explain that Fang Jing An died for love, not because of Xu, but Fang is insistent that Xu is to blame. He’ll make Xu regret not respecting him or taking him seriously.

Xu grabs the bottle of poisonous pills, ready to give his life for his daughter’s, but Ke Wei stops him. She tries to appeal to fake Ming Fei, saying that right now her only crime is trespassing, but if she continues to participate in this murder-abduction, her punishment will be severe.

But fake Ming Fei isn’t one to see reason. She tells Ke Wei that initially her dream was to just be Fei Fei, but now that she has her face, she’s realized that she can’t stand having someone else in the world who looks like her. So Fei Fei must die. She holds the pill bottle out to Xu.

Xu grabs the bottle and reminds Fang that he owes him a life, but only one life. Fang better let Ming Fei go after he dies. He starts to pour out a pill, but then fake Ming Fei tases him.

Fake Ming Fei asks Fang if his son was only worth one life. She makes a deal: if Fang kills Ming Fei, then she will make sure Xu dies. Fang smiles, liking this idea, saying that father and daughter can pay their debts together. He and the fake Ming Fei point their phones so that father and daughter see each other as they each prepare to die.

But the excavator stops just shy of gripping the car — You Kuan has arrived, having been alerted to Ming Fei’s actual location by Yao Qing. He throws Fang out of the excavator’s cabin. Meanwhile, Ke Wei knocks the poison pill out of fake Ming Fei’s hand, right as she tries to put it into the still-tased Chairman Xu’s mouth.

Yao Qing instructs security to break into the boardroom, but he’s just a moment too late. Fake Ming Fei backhands Ke Wei and forces the pill into her mouth.

Yao Qing is freaking out and trying to figure out how to get make Ke Wei vomit the pill, when You Kuan appears on Fang’s camera. He tells Yao Qing not to worry — the pill was just an Ambien. Earlier, when fake Ming Fei gave him her purse, he was suspicious and found the pill bottle. He replaced the poison with some of his more harmless sleeping medication.

Chairman Xu, Yao Qing, and Ke Wei watch the fake Ming Fei get taken away by the police. Xu is asked to go into the station for a statement. Before he leaves, he turns to Ke Wei and asks what her name is. She tells him and he repeats it thoughtfully, then heads out. It doesn’t seem like it sounds familiar to him.

Yao Qing notices Ke Wei yawning and guesses that the sleep medication is taking effect. He offers to let her sleep in his office, but she refuses, saying she wants to go check on You Kuan and Ming Fei. He watches her walk away from him.

You Kuan helps Ming Fei get settled in her hospital bed. She’s still anxious and jumpy from her near-death experience and doesn’t want him to leave her side, not even to go pour her some water, but settles down a little bit after he reassures her for the hundredth time that her father is okay.

Ming Fei wonders what made Fang hate her father so much that he went to such great lengths to try and get his revenge. Still traumatized, she feels like she can still hear the sound of cars being crushed into scrap. She closes her eyes to get some rest, but all she can see and hear are more images of the scrapyard, mixed with something else: bright headlights on a dark night and a blaring car horn. She shoots up out of bed, asking You Kuan if she can hear that sound. But he doesn’t hear anything.

You Kuan gets Ace and Xiao Mi to keep an eye on Ming Fei while he goes to check on Ke Wei, who is napping in his car. When she wakes up and sees him, she sleepily says that she has to go see Ming Fei, but You Kuan stops her upon seeing the scratches on her arm from her scuffle with fake Ming Fei. He makes her sit in the car while he gently applies some ointment and gently lectures her for trying to fight when she has no combat skills; life isn’t a video game. She’s lucky that the locks were changed recently, otherwise… he looks up to see she’s already fallen asleep.

He sighs and says that if Ke Wei were the type of person who listened to what others told her, then Yao Qing wouldn’t be trying to stop the both of them at every turn. He tells the sleeping Ke Wei that if he could, he would put her in the safest place in the world so that she would never get hurt.

He turns away and her eyes drift open slightly. She was listening. But then she dozes off for real.

Mama Cheng returns home from a shopping trip to find that her gate is open and two thugs are sitting on her porch. They ask if Cheng Da Qi, her husband, lives here. She asks how they know of him, and they say that he owes them money. She tells them they’re barking up the wrong tree; her husband has been missing for nearly 20 years. But they have a copy of his ID card and it’s recent. She’s shook.

Inside, she looks at her husband’s empty chair and thinks back to that night nineteen years ago. Cheng Da Qi had been unreachable that night when You Kuan was dying in the hospital. When he returned early in the morning, looking disheveled with a bloodstain on his arm, she was waiting for him. He tried to explain that something had happened last night, something that felt like a nightmare, but she doesn’t want to hear it. She wants a divorce. She tells him that the divorce papers are on the table and she wants him moved out by the time she gets home. She doesn’t want to see him again. And that was the last time she ever saw him.

In the present, Mama Cheng looks at the divorce papers, still never signed by him. She wonders if he really hates her so much and took her words to heart so much that he really has been avoiding her for these past nineteen years.

She suddenly gets a phone call from You Kuan. He has some free time so he just wanted to chat. It’s unexpected, but they make some small talk about how Ming Fei is doing and she lectures him for picking a dangerous profession as a bodyguard, before she broaches the topic of his father. For a while, they had been hearing rumors that he was spotted in all different parts of Taiwan, but most of the sightings had been fake. Mama Cheng tells him about new evidence of his father’s existence.

You Kuan thinks back to his childhood dream of his father getting attacked, something his mother dismissed, and to other memories of his mother dismissing his other fears that his father was dead. He asks his mother if she could handle it if these new rumors also proved to be false.

Ming Fei gets ready to meet her stalker, who calls herself Kiki, and whose original name is Chen Wan Yu. Ke Wei preps her with some documents on Kiki’s history. Ming Fei asks Ke Wei why she thinks Kiki wanted to kill her. Ke Wei says they can probably look to her past for answers.

In the early years of her life, Kiki floated around with her mother from boyfriend to boyfriend. Eventually, her mother abandoned her, so she floated around from one foster home to another. Once she aged out of foster care and was on her own, she probably continued to feel alone and extraneous to society. Until one day, she got her haircut and saw a photo of Ming Fei in a magazine. Her hairstylist told her that she looked a little bit like Ming Fei, and styled her hair to imitate Ming Fei’s. Afterward, she received a free bubble tea from a boba shop worker who thought she was pretty. She attributed that generosity to her appearance, to looking like Ming Fei, and thus an obsession was born.

Ming Fei’s takeaway is that Kiki did all this because she was unhappy with herself. But Ke Wei says that her pitiable upbringing is no excuse for becoming a criminal.

Ming Fei meets with Kiki, who waves adoringly and tries to mirror all of Ming Fei’s movements and expressions. She asks Kiki why she wanted to kill her. Kiki leans in closer and smiles as she says that there can only be one of them. Doesn’t she feel like her existence is unnecessary?

Ming Fei admits that she has felt that way before, but not because of Kiki. Flash back to Ming Fei’s teenage years. She excitedly waits outside for her dad to return home. When he gets out of his car, she races up and shows him her test scores: she’s at the top of her class. He praises her by saying that she should continue to follow her sister’s example, then heads into the house to change for a dinner.

Ming Fei asks Mr. Cheng if her father has an important business dinner. Mr. Cheng says that he’s going out to celebrate her older sister’s finishing her graduation project at Harvard. Ming Fei frowns, realizing she will always be overshadowed by her sister.

Now, in the present, sitting across from the fake version of herself, Ming Fei admits that her sister was someone she could never compete with. She was always jealous of her sister and the fact that her sister had all the accomplishments and love that Ming Fei was never able to get. She always felt unnecessary with her sister around. But even now, while alive, she can’t compete with her dead sister.

Kiki has been distracting herself by staring at Ming Fei’s face and touching her own, but upon hearing that Ming Fei’s sister is dead, she asks if she was prettier than Ming Fei. If she was, then Kiki congratulates her. It’s good that her sister’s dead.

Ming Fei glares at Kiki and calls her pathetic, using her birth name, Chen Wan Yu. She’s always chasing after things that don’t belong to her. In the process, she’s only going to lose herself. No one in the world can turn themselves into someone else, no matter how hard they try. It’s not that hard to be herself, Ming Fei says, “You are Chen Wan Yu.”

With that, she leaves. Kiki rocks back and forth and talks to herself, repeating, “I’m not Chen Wan Yu.” She thinks that Ming Fei is still sitting in the chair across from her, even though she’s actually long gone. Kiki yells that Ming Fei has no right to pity her, and struggles as the security officer in charge of her tries to drag her away, alternating between yelling and laughing crazily.

Ming Fei and her father go out for a meal. Ming Fei orders for him, having read his medical report detailing steps he should take to maintain his health. Chairman Xu seems to bristle slightly at being told what to do, but lets Ming Fei take the lead.

Ming Fei puts a hand over her father’s hand and tells him that she hopes he will confide in her about future issues like being threatened, so that they face the problems together. He nods and pats her hand. But when Li Yao Qing shows up, he subtly moves Ming Fei’s hand so they are no longer touching.

Ming Fei stares at Yao Qing, then half-jokingly asks her father if he’s still trying to matchmake them. Chairman Xu responds that he invited Yao Qing here today to facilitate a discussion about handing over CEO duties. He plans to permit the vote on Ming Fei’s removal at the next board meeting.

Ming Fei is furious but maintains an icy demeanor as she asks what misstep, if any, she has taken. She has only proven herself capable over and over again. She knows that her father is just caving to the directors who are prejudiced against her. But Chairman Xu simply shrugs and says that there has been too much drama with the company lately. This is a company matter and company decision. There’s no point in being stubborn about it.

Ming Fei asks what she’s supposed to do then. He suggests she can go back to England. She scoffs, saying that he just wants to send her away again like he did that year when she was in high school. Her father takes a deep breath, then says that he’s already made his decision. She should get ready.

Ming Fei looks away, trying to hold back tears, but one slips through. Yao Qing notices and wordlessly offers her his handkerchief. She ignores it and instead tells him that she hopes he will have more support than she did. She thought the Chairman was someone who had feelings, but she was wrong. She warns Yao Qing to be careful, lest he be thrown away like this handkerchief once he loses his usefulness.

Once Ming Fei is gone, Chairman Xu asks if Yao Qing feels awkward seeing this familial conflict. Yao Qing responds that it isn’t awkward, but is a bit unexpected. He’s surprised that Chairman Xu would support his becoming CEO and replacing Ming Fei. Chairman Xu admits that Yao Qing is very talented and that instead of wasting effort fighting his enemies, he should try to make allies out of his enemies.

Yao Qing smiles. He wouldn’t have trusted the Chairman’s words had Ming Fei not also been there. Now he trusts that this isn’t just a ruse.

Chairman Xu asks Yao Qing if he remembers the first time they met. Yao Qing had been working at this restaurant as a valet. When he picked up Xu’s car, he made sure to spend extra time polishing it, in order to create an excuse for Xu to talk to him. Yao Qing had used that opportunity to demonstrate his business acumen about the client Xu had been meeting, and while it was unsolicited, he did end up making an impression. So much so that Chairman Xu ended up paying off the debt he owed for car damages and writing him a recommendation letter. Without Chairman Xu’s help, Yao Qing admits that he probably wouldn’t have been able to graduate from law school.

Chairman Xu tells him that he doesn’t just give handouts freely. He helped Yao Qing because he saw something special in his courage, vision, and ambition.

Yao Qing smiles and tells Chairman Xu he won’t let him down.

You Kuan has another dream. But this time, the person he dreams of is Bi Ke Wei. He shoots up out of bed and immediately gets into his car. It’s the middle of the night, but he desperately calls her while speeding through the streets of Taipei.

In a voice over, he says that he didn’t know it at the time, but his dream of Ke Wei was just the beginning of his reckoning with the world.

I’m kind of surprised that the fake Ming Fei plot arc ended up being such a short arc it might as well have not existed. But given the trajectory and length of this show, it also makes sense. It would have drawn away from the main point of the story if too much time was spent dwelling on something as convoluted yet trivial as an obsessive stalker fan trying to steal Ming Fei’s identity.

Instead, this episode ended up throwing us a lot of super tasty breadcrumbs as to the secrets behind all the characters’ stories. It’s starting to look like their lives are all interconnected in closer ways than what was initially suggested. For example, it looks like Ming Fei was in the car the day of the accident, and it seems like You Kuan’s father was very likely the one driving… if that’s true, the relationship between You Kuan and Ke Wei is about to become a lot more angsty.

I’m finding Yao Qing quite hard to read. He clearly has ambition, but for what purpose? I don’t think his kindness toward Ming Fei is just an act or an attempt to curry favor with her father. He seems like underneath his desire for power and ambition, he’s just a nice guy. He wants power, but he doesn’t seem genuine when he’s doing his corporate politic scheming. It almost seems like he’s playing the part that is expected of him, but it’s hard for me to tell what it is he really wants. What’s his goal in all of this? The only time he’s seemed genuine so far was when he was slightly tipsy and chatting with You Kuan over dinner, and when he’s talking to Ke Wei. We know that Ke Wei doesn’t care about money or power. Is it possible that Yao Qing has made some sort of link between Xu and Ke Wei’s accident and is trying to dig up secrets in his own way?

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