Drama Recaps, Taiwanese Dramas

Recap: Someday or One Day (Ep. 9)

Prologue

Jun Jie and Zi Wei go to the record shop to ask Chen Yun Ru if Zi Wei’s tape has arrived yet. She shakes her head no. Zi Wei tries to give Jun Jie and Yun Ru some time alone, and goes to play with Uncle Wu’s guitar. But Yun Ru ends up just watching Zi Wei play guitar, which Jun Jie notices.

Uncle Wu shows up, and Jun Jie and Zi Wei quickly excuse themselves. Jun Jie lingers behind to look at Yun Ru through the window and smile. Zi Wei smiles seeing his best friend happy. But suddenly, he hears police sirens. He turns his head.

Chen Yun Ru’s broken body lies on the ground in the courtyard of an abandoned building. Zi Wei struggles to get past a police officer as a bloody Jun Jie is led out of the building in handcuffs and gets taken away.

Zi Wei wakes up sweating from his dream. He’s in the apartment above 32 Cafe. He looks at a photo of him, Jun Jie, and Yu Xuan/Yun Ru at the shore, and remembers those simpler, happier times.

Present

The real Li Zi Wei picks Mo Jun Jie up from the prison the day he is released. He tries to make conversation on the way to Grandma Mo’s house, but Jun Jie doesn’t respond. Grandma Mo has been preparing a fire at the doorway to ward off bad luck. She smiles to see Jun Jie and hugs him like nothing has changed.

Taipei, 2010: Zi Wei as Quan Shen takes drink orders from everyone at work. He’s gotten his first paycheck and wants to celebrate by treating everyone to a drink from the local boba shop. When Yu Xuan arrives, he asks her what she wants. She says she doesn’t want anything and tells him not to waste money.

He challenges her, saying that if he guesses what she wants, she has to accept it. If he’s wrong, he won’t buy her anything again. She agrees to his challenge. He presents a hot Americano, saying he knows that she doesn’t like milk tea, so he bought her a hot Americano just for her before work. She asks how he knew. He tells her that he can predict the future, with a wink.

Tainan: The real Li Zi Wei finds Mo Jun Jie outside Grandma Mo’s shop. He brings beer to drink and chat, but Jun Jie ignores him. So instead Zi Wei starts telling him about his own life, like the accident, and how he’s stayed in Tainan since. He owns a small business and also bought some office space nearby so that he can work and live there and drop by and check on Grandma Mo once in a while.

Jun Jie finally speaks, asking Zi Wei how he can act like nothing has happened. Does he not hate him, even just a little? Zi Wei responds that he’s never hated Jun Jie, but Jun Jie doesn’t believe him. Yun Ru wasn’t the only one who died that day; the girl that Zi Wei liked also passed away. Zi Wei says he believes Jun Jie would never do anything to hurt Chen Yun Ru. But Jun Jie just responds that it doesn’t matter what he believes, it won’t change the fact that he killed them both. He goes into the shop and closes the door in Zi Wei’s face.

Zi Wei goes back to his office, where he stares at a timeline drawn out on his chalkboard. 1999 is one of the time markers. 2008 is the next one. Under 2008 is a note, but we can’t see what it says.

2010, Taipei: Yu Xuan overhears Zi Wei laughing in the kitchen and goes in to find Zi Wei (as Quan Sheng) telling Kun Bu his meat bun and ramen jokes in the kitchen. Kun Bu complains to Yu Xuan that Zi Wei has been telling his jokes all day. Yu Xuan tells him to help clean up instead of telling lame jokes.

When they go out into the main dining room, they overhear Mao Mao on the phone with a friend, talking about heartbreak and dying. Mao Mao explains that a friend who recently went through a breakup is now posting on social media with messages like, “How can I continue living by myself? Maybe it’ll hurt less if I die.” Another classmate is concerned and wants Mao Mao to go with her to check on the friend. Yu Xuan asks if she’s going, but Mao Mao doesn’t want to bother. The messages are obviously meant for an ex-boyfriend and Mao Mao hates it when people use suicide as a way of emotionally blackmailing others. She doesn’t want to waste time on something trivial like this.

But Zi Wei interrupts and says that it’s not a trivial matter. It’s clear that the friend is in pain and going through some dark times. Some people are lucky enough to be able to think through it themselves, but others aren’t as lucky, like his best friend. He tells them that if he could go back in time, he would do everything he could to help his friend get through his problems and prevent a tragedy from happening. He tells Mao Mao that she should go check on her friend. Even if the threats of suicide are emotional blackmail, there’s no denying that she’s in a lot of pain and she could use some company and compassion.

Suddenly overcome with emotion, he excuses himself. Yu Xuan stares after him, seeming surprised to have discovered this other dimension of Zi Wei. Mao Mao decides to go check on her friend, having been convinced by Zi Wei’s words. She asks Yu Xuan to cover her for the closing inventory check.

Zi Wei goes outside and breathes heavily as he remembers what Uncle Wu told him about Mo Jun Jie when they first re-met. Zi Wei had gone to Grandma Mo’s shop only to find it closed. Uncle Wu told him that Mo Jun Jie was released in 2008, but killed himself shortly after, in the same building where Yun Ru died.

At the time, Zi Wei had collapsed from the news. Now, hiding outside the restaurant, he cries at the memory.

Yu Xuan finds him outside, and he quickly tries to hide his tears. She eyes him awkwardly, but says that she thought she’d show him how to take inventory, since she agreed to cover for Mao Mao and he’s never done it before. He wipes his tears away and follows her inside.

After showing him the ropes, Yu Xuan tells him that whenever she’s in a bad mood and at the restaurant, she likes to do inventory check. Because when she’s the one closing up, no one else is around and she can play her music as loud as she wants. Plus the best part of taking inventory is that sometimes you might find a surprise. She shows him some meat that was stashed away, and tries to cheer him up by suggesting they eat it together.

He watches her with a smile as she laughs and cooks the meat for him. He is SO in love. They joke around as they eat.

Zi Wei enlists Chen Cai Yu to help him plan an elaborately casual birthday surprise for Yu Xuan. But his plans are thwarted when he finds out that she has plans with her boyfriend that night and he volunteers to cover for Kun Bu at work so that Yu Xuan doesn’t miss out on birthday plans with her boyfriend.

Tainan 2008: Mo Jun Jie brings flowers to Chen Yun Ru’s grave for her birthday, but freezes when he sees that Chen Yun Ru’s mother and brother are already there.

Yun Ru’s mother apologizes to Yun Ru for forgetting her birthday when she was alive. Now that Yun Ru has passed, her mother says that she forgets a lot of things, but Yun Ru’s birthday is something she always remembers. Si Yuan puts an arm around his mother and they both try to force smiles on their faces as they wish Yun Ru a happy birthday.

Jun Jie watches them from a distance. Overcome with emotion, he suddenly turns and leaves. He makes it as far as the covered walkway out to the burial sites, where he collapses against a column and sobs as he remembers the past. Memories of celebrating Yun Ru’s birthday with her and Zi Wei are interspersed with scenes from her death. She had begged Jun Jie to kill her in that abandoned building, a jagged piece of glass in her hand. Then an image of holding her unconscious, broken body in the pouring rain.

Jun Jie leaves flowers and a cake with candles for Yun Ru’s 27th birthday at her grave.

Taipei 2010: Zi Wei is surprised to see Yu Xuan at work on her birthday and gets offended for her when he finds out that her boyfriend cancelled plans with her last minute. Later, as they’re cleaning up after the last customers have left, he sees that there’s still a little over an hour left until midnight. He tells Yu Xuan to wait for him and runs off.

He slides into the cake shop right as they’re about to close and buys a cake. But when he gets back to the restaurant, his manager tells him that Yu Xuan already left after getting a call from her boyfriend.

Yu Xuan goes to meet her boyfriend, happy because she thinks he’s remembered her birthday. But then she notices that he’s not alone: there’s another woman with him. He tells her that the woman is his ex-girlfriend, and they’ve decided to get back together. Yu Xuan realizes that all his claims about being busy with his dissertation recently were lies. He had actually been meeting up with his ex.

She slaps him. Not only did he actively pursue her when he clearly was hung up in a complicated relationship with his ex, he forgot what it was her birthday and decided to break up with her on her birthday. Now her future birthdays will forever be ruined because she’ll just remember this breakup.

On her way home, Yu Xuan realizes that she left her transit card at work. She’s on her way back to the restaurant when she gets a call from Zi Wei, saying he realized he never said happy birthday to her. He gets that she’s probably enjoying her birthday with her boyfriend right now, but he still wanted to say it to her.

She freezes at the entrance to the restaurant building. Zi Wei is sitting in the lobby with a birthday cake in front of him. He’s equally as surprised to see her. He asks her why she’s alone, but she interrupts and says that the candles will melt if she doesn’t blow them out soon. He goes with her change of topic and holds the cake, telling her to make her wishes.

Yu Xuan’s first wish is for all the couples in the world to have their happy endings. Her second wish is to never have a reason to slap someone in the face again. She doesn’t have a third wish, so she gives it to Zi Wei. He makes the wish for her.

She smears some frosting on his nose to tease him before blowing out the candles.

They eat the cake inside the restaurant and Zi Wei asks Yu Xuan why she even dated Du Qi Min in the first place. She tells him about how she and Du Qi Min came across a lost child during one of their major’s field trips and helped the kid find his way home. That child reminded her of something that happened to her when she was younger: she got lost, and a nice older brother helped her find her way home. Li Zi Wei realizes that the older brother was him, and almost starts tearing up. He guesses that Yu Xuan started dating Du Qi Min because he reminded her of that older brother from her childhood, and gets offended that she would think Du Qi Min and the older brother from her memory are on the same level. She naturally thinks his reaction is weird because why would he get so worked up about something like that?

He tries to recover by saying he’s just excited and happy that Du Qi Min is out of her life, which she also finds somewhat inappropriate because she just went through a break-up. He tells her that if she never dates anyone else for the rest of her life, he won’t later. She just rolls her eyes and tells him to save his cheesy pick-up lines for other girls. Before Yu Xuan leaves, Zi Wei tosses her a small box, his birthday present to her.

2008 Tainan: Mo Jun Jie drops by his grandma’s ice shop at night to find it unlocked, his grandma nowhere in sight. He goes to check on her at home, only to find that she has collapsed and has been unconscious for who knows how long.

Li Zi Wei rushes to the hospital when he hears the news. When Jun Jie sees him, he shoves him outside and almost punches him, demanding to know why Zi Wei never told him about his grandmother’s illness. Grandma Mo wakes up and calls Jun Jie inside, telling him that he shouldn’t blame Zi Wei. She was the one who told Zi Wei to keep it a secret because she didn’t want Jun Jie to worry.

Zi Wei overhears their conversation and runs into a stairwell, abandoning his cane, so that he can also let out his own tears.

2010 Taipei: Yu Xuan and her friends sit down in the dining hall behind Zi Wei and Chen Cai Yu. Cai Yu nudges Zi Wei, who turns and smiles at Yu Xuan, who nods back. But some girls standing near her titter at each other, wondering if he’s smiling at them.

Yu Xuan hears their conversation and frowns, then asks her friends if Wang Quan Sheng is really popular with the girls. When she finds out he is, she just frowns even more and grumbles that of course he’s the type to flirt with everyone. But Kun Bu quickly corrects her. Wang Quan Sheng is only popular because he’s not flirtatious. He barely starts conversations with girls and she tells a story about how he once rejected the hottest girl in school by saying that a fortune teller told him he couldn’t marry someone with her last name, except her got her last name wrong. It’s his untouchableness that makes him so popular. Yu Xuan looks at him thoughtfully.

Zi Wei is the first one at work and blasts Wu Bai’s “Last Dance” on the stereo. He imagines that the Yu Xuan he fell in love with, the one who was in Chen Yun Ru’s body, walks through the door and he smiles, entranced. Then he realizes that she’s actually the Huang Yu Xuan of 2010 and his smile dims a little.

Yu Xuan makes fun of Zi Wei’s music choice, saying the song is old. Zi Wei responds saying that sometimes a song can be like a time machine. Hearing it can transport you to a certain time, or place, or memory of a person. This song reminds him of someone who is always in his heart. Does she want to know who it is? She says sure. “You,” he responds.

She stares at him and doesn’t respond, so he breaks into a smile and tries to lighten the mood with some jazz hands, asking if she’s going to respond. “How should I respond?” she asks. He says that normally she would get angry at him or hit him for saying something cheesy like this. She says that yes, that’s what she wants to do. She asks him to stop saying things like this to her; what if she takes it seriously one day?

“If you start taking my words seriously, then I’ll never leave you,” he responds seriously. But she just thinks he’s being a playboy and tells him not to say to her these lines that he uses on all girls. He says that she’s the only one who he talks to like this. She stares at him for a moment and doesn’t respond, then says that she needs to get ready for work.

Yu Xuan is studying when she suddenly remembers the gift that Zi Wei gave her. She opens it to find a pair of red earphones. She smiles slightly and tries them out. The first song she plays is “Last Dance.”

Yu Xuan uses her new earphones all the time, and slowly, she and Zi Wei get closer. He brings her coffee at work and he makes her smile with silly patterns drawn in fake snow that they use for decorating the restaurant for the holidays. She starts sitting near him in the class they share and chats with him. They celebrate the new year together with their friends, but make eye contact and say a special “Happy New Year” to each other.

Yu Xuan tells Zi Wei that he makes her feel old when he calls her xue-jie when they’re actually the same age. She says he can use her name from now on.

One day at work, Zi Wei notices that Yu Xuan is missing. He finds out that she’s been in the bathroom for a half hour. He goes to check on her and runs out to buy some sanitary napkins for her after she tells him that she unexpectedly got her period and none of her female friends are at work. He goes a step further and asks the manager to give her a day off, then gives her a piggyback ride home. As he’s carrying her up the stairs to her apartment, he tells her that he also bought dinner and breakfast for her in case she’s still not feeling well the next day.

When he goes downstairs, she calls him on the phone and tells him to look up. She’s sitting in her window and waves to him. She tells him to remember today’s date because it’s the first day. The first day that they’re together.

Zi Wei is so excited that he starts jumping around excitedly and starts yelling, “Huang Yu Xuan, I like you!” Embarrassed, she tells him to lower his voice, but she can’t help but smile too.

2008, Tainan: Mo Jun Jie’s grandmother passes. After the funeral service, he asks Zi Wei to drink with him.

While drinking, they reminisce about the good old days of their friendship growing up. In a voiceover, Zi Wei tells us that they talked about everything except for Chen Yun Ru and Huang Yu Xuan. He got very drunk that night, so drunk that he doesn’t even remember when or why he passed out. The only thing he remembers is that Mo Jun Jie laughed a lot that day. It was the happiest Zi Wei had seen him in a long time.

Zi Wei also remembers being happy, because he remembers thinking that even if he couldn’t go back and prevent Yun Ru’s death, at least he would be able to keep his best friend.

Zi Wei wakes up from passing out to find an empty apartment around him, Jun Jie nowhere in sight. He suddenly notices a half-burnt stick of incense at Grandma Mo’s shrine and remembers Uncle Wu’s words about Jun Jie’s future. He takes off running, abandoning his cane. We finally see the note that Zi Wei wrote on his timeline under 2008: no matter what, stop Mo Jun Jie from committing suicide.

Zi Wei goes to the abandoned building where Yun Ru died, but his bad leg slows him down going up the stairs. He finally finds Jun Jie, but he’s already climbed onto the ledge.

“Don’t! Don’t!” Zi Wei cries as he stumbles toward Jun Jie. But it’s too late. Jun Jie turns toward him, tears in his eyes, and steps off the ledge.

Zi Wei stares over the edge in shock at Jun Jie’s fallen body, then collapses, sobbing.

This ending is just devastating.

As much as the last episode made me smile, this one made me cry. It wasn’t all sad, but I mostly cried during the happy moments, like every time Zi Wei did something sweet for Yu Xuan. Those were the most tear-worthy for me because they were all tinged with the bittersweet reminder that this is the “past” and is what Yu Xuan lost. And for Zi Wei it’s also as bittersweet as it is happy, because he’s regaining what he lost… but might lose again.

And Zi Wei has lost so much. It’s no wonder why he’s so dead set on changing the past. He lost a best friend and the love of his life. This episode gave us so many teaser scenes of the circumstances surrounding Yun Ru’s death. Why was she begging Jun Jie to kill her? Is it possible that she just committed suicide and Jun Jie was at the wrong place at the wrong time? But I don’t believe that Xie has nothing to do with it. What is his role? But I also like that we don’t waste too much screen time on him.

I’m also sensing some inconsistencies in what we’re seeing of Yun Ru’s death. The only recollections we’ve seen before are colored by the rememberer’s experience. Zi Wei remembered seeing Jun Jie over Yun Ru’s dead body on one of the upper levels of the abandoned building. Was that just a nightmare? Because Jun Jie remembers seeing Yun Ru on that floor as well, begging him to end her life, yet later we see him on the ground level of the courtyard holding her body in the rain. How did she get there if Zi Wei’s dream-memory is also true? Is any of it real?

Zi Wei and Yu Xuan seem to be following each other around in a strange little infinite loop of love. The Wang Quan Sheng that Yu Xuan falls in love with is a Li Zi Wei who has experienced the pain and sorrow of not only her loss, but also the loss of his best friend. Those experiences make him a different person than the one he was when he first met Yu Xuan, and they make him the person she falls in love with. Ironically, the Yu Xuan that he falls in love with is one who is post-Quan Sheng’s loss, and changed by it. She’s not exactly the same person that Zi Wei later meets, though she does become her. In a way, they’re both just chasing a memory of the other, one that they’re never quite able to catch… until they finally meet in 2019, perhaps? But will there be too much pain by then and no room for happiness?

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